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Figurative Language Definitions

Simile- If you said, “My sister is like a doll,” or maybe, “My brother’s good as gold,” you would be making a simile – a form of comparison in which one thing is compared to another unlike thing by using specific words of comparison like like, as, and resembles. Poets try to find unusual metaphors and similes.

Metaphor – A metaphor compares two unlike things. “My baby sister’s a doll,” you might say, compares your sister’s size and sweetness to that of the perfection of a doll. At another time you might say, “My brother is a rat.” This compares your brother to the nastiest little creature you can think of. In both cases you would be making a metaphor – a form of comparison that directly compares two unlike things. A metaphor wastes no time in getting to the point. A verb such as (is, are, was, were) is used with metaphors, giving the characteristics directly to the object or person. (Watch out for contractions like he’s and she’s because they contain the word “is.” For example she + is = she’s)

Personification – When something that is not human or a person is spoke of as if it had human abilities and person like reactions. Example:  “The car coughed several times before it died in the middle of the road.”

Hyperbole- A great exaggeration used to emphasize a point, and is used for expressive or comic effect. A hyperbole is not to be taken literally. Example: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We know that eating an apple every day will not keep you from ever getting sick and having to go to the doctor.

Allusion– When something from a book, movie, or passage is used in reference to a person, place, or thing in history or another piece of literature or movie.

Idiom-  Idioms are groups of words whose meaning is different from the ordinary meaning of the words. Sometimes these don’t even make sense and can sound funny. For example: “Put a lid on it.” Our teacher tells us to put a lid on it. She’s not really telling us to put a lid on something but to be quiet and pay attention.

Alliteration– Using the same consonant sound repeatedly. Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore. He wrecked right down the road.

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