To important understandEnglish, you must have actually some expertise of the mostcommon types offigurative language.

You are watching: A word or phrase not to be taken literally

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What doesfigurativemean?

Figurativemeans the words are supplied in a method that is different from the usualmeaning. That means thedescription is moreinterestingorimpressive. Figurative language creates apicture in her mind.
For example: Heis around to explode!We execute not meanto say the the male will actually explode. We just want to say the heis incredibly angry. For this reason we usage the verb "explode" in a figurativeway. In various other words, we use a wordthat usually describessomething else.That means the summary is much more interesting. It create a certainpicture in the mind.

The opposite offigurative isliteral

Literal means that you typical what you say exactly.
For example: Heis about to explode!Here us domeanto say the the man will in reality explode.The guy holds fireworks, and also it look at dangerous sufficient to explode.So below we use the verb "explode" in a literal meaning way.In other words, we usage the usual meaning of the word.
Figurativecomes indigenous the wordfigure(alsofigure ofspeech). A figureof decided is a indigenous or phrase offered in a different means fromits usual an interpretation in order to express a certain meaning. In the about example, "explode" is a number of speech.Literalcomes from the Latinword littera,which way "letter."

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To get a much better understanding of figurative language,let"slook at somecommon figurative sayings:
This is an example of figurative language. This sentence does not mean that Sam is actually an animal.


This is another example of figurative language. This sentence go not typical that Bethhad a cat in a bag andlet itout.

Native English speakers know this sentence is figurative languagemeaning the Beth called Lisa the secret about the surpriseparty.

Figurativeor Literal

Totruly understand figurative language, girlfriend must first understand theterms"figurative" and also "literal."
Ifa statement is"literal" the is true. Friend can think every word.When you say something "literally," you mean exactly what friend say.

This is a literalstatement due to the fact that the writer think the lady look at beautiful. Thewriter is merely stating that she look at beautiful.
This is a literalstatement. The writer way that the male is huge and strong.These statements are literal and also can occasionally be boring! to addinterest, writers frequently write in a figurative way.
"Figurative"is the opposite of "literal." You do not think a figurativestatementword because that word. Once you to speak something "figuratively," you are usuallymaking a compare to provide a summary or make a point.
Thisis a figurativestatement, because a human being can"t yes, really look exactlylike money. The statement means that she is well dressed and also looksbeautiful.
This is likewise a figurativestatement since a human being cannot be as bigas an elephant. The statement means he is an extremely large. The writercompares the male to one elephant to help the reader visualize the large,strong man!

Figurativelanguage definition

Figurativelanguage is a native or phrase that can not be takenliterally. Writers use figurativelanguage to describe things, people, or ideas. Common reasons tousefigurative language:for comparisonfor focus or stressto do somethingclearto to speak something in a new wayto aid the reader/listener form a photo in your mindto make a story or poem interesting
If supplied correctly, figurative language can significantly improve yourwriting and also speaking. Whenreading, speaking, or creating in English, it is necessary tounderstand the definition of some usual figures the speech.First,let"s look at definitions and examples that the most common varieties offigurative language.

Typesof figurative language

There are numerous common types of figurative language supplied in theEnglish language.

Simile and metaphor

Similesand metaphorsare the two most common varieties of figurative language.They room both supplied to compare twodifferent points that execute notusually gotogether. Thedifference between simile and an allegory is that a simile supplies the words"like" or "as"and a an allegory does not.

with prefer / as => simile

without favor / as => metaphor

A) A simile is acomparison that two different things utilizing the words"like" or "as."
Examples:She runs rapid likea cheetah.(She runs really fast.)
The youngsters were asquiet asmice this morning.(Thechildren were very quiet.)
Examples:The snow is a blanket over the house. (The snow covers the house.)
My little girl is one angel.(My little girl is very nice and sweet.)
Click right here for the full articleon the simile and metaphor in English.


Anidiom is acommonly provided phrase that does not median what that says.It cannot betaken literally. There space many common idioms in the English language. Discovering the interpretations of typical idioms will help you understand AmericanEnglish better. For a perform of some frequently used idioms and theirmeanings, click here:Idiomexamples
Examples:My vehicle just kickedthe bucket.(kicked the bucket = broke down, avoid working)Bob was feelingblue ~ his girl friend left him.(feeling blue = emotion sad)
Click right here for the complete articleon English idioms.


A hyperboleis one obviousexaggeration. Hyperboles space usually provided tomake a point. Hyperboles cannot be taken literally.
Examples:I am so hungry I can eat a horse!(I am really hungry.)We waited in line forever!(We waited in line because that a lengthy time.)The coffee to be so hot, i was spitting flames!(The coffee was really hot.)
Click here for the full articleon the hyperbole in English.


Personificationis once a person characteristic is provided tosomething the isnothuman, together as an object or an animal. Authors personifyobjects toprovide an excellent descriptions.
Examples:My penwas flyingacross the page.(I was writing an extremely fast.)The leavesdanced in the wind.(The wind to be blowing the pipeline around.)
Click here for the full articleon personification in English.


Alliterationis therepetition that the initial sound in a collection ofwords. Alliteration is commonly found in poetry and rhymes.
Click right here for the full articleon alliteration in English.


Onomatopoeias arewordsused to define a sound.

Click here for the full articleon the onomatopoeia in English.


A cliché isa commonexpression that has been overused. Clichés have the right to beother types of figurative language.
Examples:easy together pie (very easy)let the cat out of the bag(tell a secret)stick in the mud(someone that does not want to shot anything new)slept like a baby(very well)
Click right here for the full articleon the cliché in English.


A pun isaplay ~ above words.Puns room meant to be clever and also funny. Numerous jokes areactually puns.There are two methods tocreate a pun:
1. Use words the soundthe same however have different meanings.2. Use a indigenous that has multiple meanings.
Examples:I take it a task as a baker because I knead dough.(A baker have the right to knead (mix) bread dough. Human being work because they needdough (money).)Why go the bee go to the doctor? since she had actually hives.(A bee stays in a hive. Hives is also an illness.) The golfer had actually two bag of pants in case he obtained a feet in one.(A golfer deserve to make the round in the hole on the an initial try. Or the golfercan gain a feet in one pair the pants.)
Click below for the complete articleon the pun in English.Click right here to learnabout English Proverbs too.


Irony is as soon as someone states or go something, but way another thing or intends for something else to happen.

because that example: Nick just gained an F top top his test. Maria looks at Nick and also says, "Good job! you must have actually studied hard." does Maria really mean "good job"? No! Maria is using verbal irony to it is in sarcastic. Click right here for the full post on irony in English: verbal irony, dramatic irony, and also situational irony.

Paradoxes, Oxymorons, and Contradictory Statements

See also: ours lesson ~ above Paradoxes, Oxymorons, andContradictory Statements

This was just an introduction of each form of figurative language. Come learn much more about a particular type, click the web links to the full articles. Now that you have learned about the species of figurative language, the is time come review and practice through this figurative language quiz! This was summary of figurative language. Currently that you recognize it, it is time to practice! obtain our ESL Books.

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