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					Figurative Language

          Top 20 Techniques
1. Simile
  An indirect relationship where one thing or idea
  is described as being similar to another. Similes
  usually contain the words “like” or “as,” but not
  always.

  “The moon appeared crimson, like a drop of
  blood hanging in the sky.”
2. Metaphor
   A direct relationship where one thing or idea
    substitutes for another.


    “The poor rat didn’t have a chance. Our old
    cat, a bolt of lightning, caught his prey.”
3. Personification
   Where inanimate objects or abstract concepts
    are given human qualities.
    The wind stood up and gave a shout.
          He whistled on his fingers and
    Kicked the withered leaves about
          And thumped the branches with his hand
    And said he'd kill and kill and kill,
          And so he will and so he will.
                              James Stephens, The Wind
4. Alliteration
   The repetition of consonant sounds within
    close proximity, usually in consecutive words
    within the same sentence or line.
    “While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there
    came a tapping as if someone gently rapping,
    rapping at my chamber door.”
                            Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven
5. Assonance
   Identity or similarity in sound between internal
    vowels in neighboring words.

    “And his eyes have all the seeming
    of a demon's that is dreaming.”
                          Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven
6. Onomatopoeia
   When words describing sounds actually sound
    like the sounds they describe.

    "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is."
                                 Slogan of Alka Seltzer
7. Hyperbole
   A description that exaggerates, usually
    employing extremes and/or superlatives to
    convey a positive or negative attribute; “hype.”

    “I’ve told you a million times to clean up your
    room.”
                                   A direct quote from
                              every mother in America
8. Idiom
    An expression that doesn’t make literal sense
     but has come into use through cultural
     influences, i.e. colloquial phrases.

    “Kids today are so spoiled. They expect to have
    their cake and eat it, too.”
                                    A direct quote from
                          every grandparent in America
9. Cliché
   A saying, expression, or idea that has been
    overused to the point of losing its intended
    force.
    “Totally awesome.”
    “That’s hot.”
                                    Direct quotes from
                            every teenager in America
10. Irony
   Use of words to convey the opposite of their
    literal meaning. A statement or situation where
    the meaning is directly contradicted by the
    appearance or presentation of the idea. (Three
    types: Verbal, Situational, Dramatic)
    In “The Most Dangerous Game,” a professional
    hunter finds himself being hunted.
11. Symbol
    The use of specific objects or images to represent
     abstract ideas. A symbol must be something
     tangible or visible, while the idea it symbolizes
     must be something abstract or universal.
    “It’s a shell! I seen one like that before. On
    someone’s back wall. A conch he called it. He used
    it to blow and then his mum would come. It’s ever
    so valuable --.”
                              William Golding, Lord of the Flies
12. Paradox
   Where a situation is created which cannot possibly
    exist, because different elements of it cancel each
    other out.

    “It was the best of times, it was the worse of
    times.”
                 Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
13. Oxymoron
   A contradiction in terms.


    “O brawling love! O brawling hate!...heavy
    lightness...feather of lead, bright smoke, cold
    fire, sick health!"
                  William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
14. Imagery
   Language that describes something in detail, using
    words to substitute for and create sensory stimulation,
    including visual imagery and sound imagery.
“The plane rolled to the right and blew through the trees, out
over the water and down, down to slam into the lake, skip
once on water as hard as concrete, water that tore the
windshield out and shattered the side windows, water that
drove him back into the seat. Somebody was screaming,
screaming as the plane drove down into the water.”
                                          Gary Paulsen, Hatchet
15. Repetition
   Where a specific word, phrase, or structure is
    repeated several times, usually in close
    proximity, to emphasize a particular idea.
    “But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot
    consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave
    men, living and dead who struggled here have
    consecrated it far above our poor power to add or
    detract.”
                  Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address
16. Anecdote
   A short tale narrating an interesting or amusing
    biographical incident.
    “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father
    gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my
    mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing
    anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people
    in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve
    had.”
                           F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
17. Metonymy
   Describing something indirectly by referring to
    things around it, such as describing someone's
    clothing to characterize the individual.

    “Her voice is full of money.”
                   F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
18. Parallelism
   Use of similar or identical language,
    structures, events or ideas in different parts of
    a text.
    "When you are right you cannot be too radical;
    when you are wrong, you cannot be too
    conservative."
                                  Martin Luther King, Jr.
19. Allusion
   A brief, usually indirect reference to a person, place, or
    event--real or fictional. Allusions are commonly
    made to the Bible, nursery rhymes, myths,
    famous fictional or historical characters or
    events, and Shakespeare.
    “Christy didn't like to spend money. She was no
    Scrooge, but she seldom purchased anything
    except the bare necessities.”
20. Motif
   A recurring important idea or image. A detail
    (like a color) that repeats itself throughout the
    work.
    “Out damned spot! Out, I say!
    Here’s the smell of blood still.
    All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little
    hand.”
                    William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Test Your Knowledge


   Choose the technique used in the
   following examples.
1.
    The waitress served me a platter of gigantic
     shrimp.
        A. Repetition
        B. Imagery
        C. Metaphor
        D. Oxymoron
1. D - Oxymoron
   The waitress served me a platter of gigantic
    shrimp.
       A. Repetition
       B. Imagery
       C. Metaphor
       D. Oxymoron
2.
    He stretched out his arms toward the dark
     water in a curious way . . . Involuntarily I
     glanced seaward – and distinguished nothing
     except a single green light. (The Great Gatsby)
        A. Symbol
        B. Simile
        C. Imagery
        D. Assonance
2. A&C – Symbol and Imagery
   He stretched out his arms toward the dark
    water in a curious way . . . Involuntarily I
    glanced seaward – and distinguished nothing
    except a single green light. (The Great Gatsby)
       A. Symbol
       B. Simile
       C. Imagery
       D. Assonance
3.
    Language is a road map of a culture. It tells
     you where its people come from and where
     they are going. (Rita May Brown)
        A. Personification
        B. Metaphor
        C. Paradox
        D. Metonymy
3. B – Metaphor
   Language is a road map of a culture. It tells
    you where its people come from and where
    they are going. (Rita May Brown)
       A. Personification
       B. Metaphor
       C. Paradox
       D. Metonymy
4.
    The suits on Wall Street are eager to see if
     the market will improve during 2009.
        A. Personification
        B. Metaphor
        C. Paradox
        D. Metonymy
4. D – Metonymy
   The suits on Wall Street are eager to see if
    the market will improve during 2009.
       A. Personification
       B. Metaphor
       C. Paradox
       D. Metonymy
5.
    Even King Solomon would find my
     parent’s disagreements hard to resolve.
        A. Anecdote
        B. Assonance
        C. Allusion
        D. Alliteration
5. C – Allusion
   Even King Solomon would find my
    parent’s disagreements hard to resolve.
       A. Anecdote
       B. Assonance
       C. Allusion
       D. Alliteration
6.
    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a
     day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him
     for a lifetime.
        A. Assonance
        B. Parallelism
        C. Hyperbole
        D. Cliché
6. B – Parallelism
   Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a
    day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him
    for a lifetime.
       A. Assonance
       B. Parallelism
       C. Hyperbole
       D. Cliché
7.
    War is peace. Freedom is slavery.
     Ignorance is strength. (George Orwell, 1984)
        A. Irony
        B. Metaphor
        C. Personification
        D. Paradox
7. D – Paradox
   War is peace. Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength. (George Orwell, 1984)
       A. Irony
       B. Metaphor
       C. Personification
       D. Paradox
8.
    All right, let’s huddle up. I expect you to
     give one hundred and one percent. Let’s
     own the paint. There’s no I in team.
        A. Imagery
        B. Cliché
        C. Motif
        D. Hyperbole
8. B & D – Cliché and Hyperbole
   All right, let’s huddle up. I expect you to
    give one hundred and one percent. Let’s
    own the paint. There’s no I in team.
       A. Imagery
       B. Cliché
       C. Motif
       D. Hyperbole
9.
    Under her small black-freckled hand her
     cane, limber as a buggy whip, would switch
     at the brush as if to rouse up any hiding
     things. (A Worn Path)
        A. Personification
        B. Simile
        C. Imagery
        D. Motif
9. B and C – Simile and Imagery
   Under her small black-freckled hand her
    cane, limber as a buggy whip, would switch
    at the brush as if to rouse up any hiding
    things. (A Worn Path)
       A. Personification
       B. Simile
       C. Imagery
       D. Motif
10.
   Bang! Went the pistol.Crash! Went the
    window. Ouch! Went the son of a gun.
       A. Onomatopoeia
       B. Hyperbole
       C. Repetition
       D. Personification
10. A – Onomatopoeia
   Bang! Went the pistol. Crash! Went the
    window. Ouch! Went the son of a gun.
       A. Onomatopoeia
       B. Hyperbole
       C. Repetition
       D. Personification
11.
   The lightning lashed out with anger.
       A. Onomatopoeia
       B. Hyperbole
       C. Alliteration
       D. Personification
11. C&D – Personification and
Alliteration
   The lightning lashed out with anger.
       A. Onomatopoeia
       B. Hyperbole
       C. Alliteration
       D. Personification
12.
   She sells sea shells down by the sea shore.
       A. Assonance
       B. Alliteration
       C. Allusion
       D. Anecdote
12. B – Alliteration
   She sells sea shells down by the sea shore.
       A. Assonance
       B. Alliteration
       C. Allusion
       D. Anecdote
13.
   We’ll be there in a New York minute.
       A. Hyperbole
       B. Idiom
       C. Metaphor
       D. Repetition
13. B – Idiom
   We’ll be there in a New York minute.
       A. Hyperbole
       B. Idiom
       C. Metaphor
       D. Repetition
14.
   My backpack weighs a ton.
       A. Hyperbole
       B. Idiom
       C. Imagery
       D. Metaphor
14. A – Hyperbole
   My backpack weighs a ton.
       A. Hyperbole
       B. Idiom
       C. Imagery
       D. Metaphor
15.
   For every sound that floats
    From the rust within their throats
    Is a groan. ( Edgar Allan Poe, The Bells)

       A. Imagery
       B. Symbol
       C. Assonance
       D. Alliteration
15. C – Assonance
   For every sound that floats
    From the rust within their throats
    Is a groan. ( Edgar Allan Poe, The Bells)

       A. Imagery
       B. Symbol
       C. Assonance
       D. Alliteration
16.
   Water, water, every where,
    And all the boards did shrink;
    Water, water, every where,
    Nor any drop to drink.
               (Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)
       A. Paradox
       B. Parallelism
       C. Imagery
       D. Irony
16. A&C – Irony and Imagery
   Water, water, every where,
    And all the boards did shrink;
    Water, water, every where,
    Nor any drop to drink.
               (Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)
       A. Paradox
       B. Parallelism
       C. Imagery
       D. Irony
    17.
   When I see birches bend to left and right
    Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
    I like to think some boy's been swinging
         them.                                     A. Metaphor
    But swinging doesn't bend them down to
                                                   B. Repetition
         stay.
    Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen   C. Imagery
         them
                                                   D. Hyperbole
    Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
    After a rain. They click upon themselves
    As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
    As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
    17. C – Imagery
   When I see birches bend to left and right
    Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
    I like to think some boy's been swinging
         them.                                     A. Metaphor
    But swinging doesn't bend them down to
                                                   B. Repetition
         stay.
    Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen   C. Imagery
         them
                                                   D. Hyperbole
    Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
    After a rain. They click upon themselves
    As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
    As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
18.
   I know where I will wear this dagger then . . . Then
    walk we forth even to the market place waving our
    red weapons over our heads . . . O pardon me thou
    bleeding piece of earth that I am meek and gentle
    with these butchers . . . That was the most unkindly
    cut of all . . .
       A. Symbol
       B. Imagery
       C. Motif
       D. Personification
18. C&D – Motif & Personification
   I know where I will wear this dagger then . . . Then
    walk we forth even to the market place waving our
    red weapons over our heads . . . O pardon me thou
    bleeding piece of earth that I am meek and gentle
    with these butchers . . . That was the most unkindly
    cut of all . . .
       A. Symbol
       B. Imagery
       C. Motif
       D. Personification
19.
   But I have promises to keep
    And miles to go before I sleep.
    And miles to go before I sleep
                             (Robert Frost)
       A. Personification
       B. Metaphor
       C. Repetition
       D. Parallelism
19. C – Repetition
   But I have promises to keep
    And miles to go before I sleep.
    And miles to go before I sleep
                             (Robert Frost)
       A. Personification
       B. Metaphor
       C. Repetition
       D. Parallelism
20.
   My mother used to embarrass me by telling a story
    that emphasized my independence. She would say
    that my first complete sentence was, “I can do this
    job all by myself.”
      A. Allusion
      B. Paradox
      C. Oxymoron
      D. Anecdote
20. D – Anecdote
   My mother used to embarrass me by telling a story that
    emphasized my independence. She would say that my first
    complete sentence was, “I can do this job all by myself.”
      A. Allusion
      B. Paradox
      C. Oxymoron
      D. Anecdote
Congratulations!

				
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