A figure of speech is a type of rhetorical figure that uses words and phrases to produce an intended effect. The purpose of using figures of speech can be for emphasis, clarity, or humour. By definition, those who use figures of speech do not intend to deceive their audience; but rather aim at achieving a rhetorical effect. Thus one can easily marvel at how common figures of speech are without any intention on the part of the speaker or writer. What distinguishes formal literary works is that they contain certain rules and conventions over which speakers/writers have the tools to control and manipulate.
Types of Figure of Speech
A metaphor is a figure of speech that compares one entity to another without using the literal word of it. It normally uses one word to represent another.
Examples of Metaphor
- She threw a fit, which means she got angry.
- A whirlwind was blowing through the room, which means it is not a good time.
- The light bulb has just come on in your head/mind.
- A whirlwind was blowing through the room,” means it is not a good time.
- Both me and daddy are bald.
- Reminds me of going to heaven.
In similes, one thing is compared to another with some symbolic element added such as “like” or “as”: “I loved her like a sister” or “he sounds just like his father when he gets angry.” This produces an idea in the reader which focuses on one theme while another is mentioned to support, embellish and enhance that first message all at once.
Examples of Simile
In personifications, a natural trait of animals and human beings is referred to as it were by the mind. Thus whenever this figure occurs the following words appear with the “like” or “as”. They are: as it were, in appearance, to mimic a human being especially having some distinctive traits. An example is – symbolically things and animals have feelings just like humans do therefore making them conscious of their surroundings.
Examples of Personification
Hyperbole involves exaggeration in order to enhance praise by describing something which meets the expectations of a hyperbolic speech. Hyperbole is what comes out in tension between high and low.
Examples of Hyperbole
In metonymy one object indirectly referred to another because it evokes a meaning or image automatically via its association with something closely related such “his brother’s keeper.” This means that someone will always be there for you even when you are hurting: as an author Henry David Thoreau writes in his book “Walden.”
This is known as metonymy because the brother’s keeper, the one caring for them are all objects that directly point to another object.
Examples of Metonymy
Alliteration also known as assonance is when words have similar sounds but different meanings based upon their initial consonants or vowels; alliteration will change the meaning of a sentence into something opposite or parallel.
Examples of Alliteration
An oxymoron uses incongruous language to combine a negative with a positive meaning such as “quickly hot” for “slow.”
Examples of Oxymoron
In synecdoche, a part of something is referred to as the whole. For example, if one says “the colour of the sky at night,” then “blue” will be used to describe what she sees.
Examples of Synecdoche
This is also known as assonance and is when two or more words rhyme but in a different way.
Examples of Parallelism
- James Kofo studied poetry so he could keep the meaning of his poems very clear. This means that his poems are perfect examples of par arrangement (parallel arrangement).
- Poems should be read aloud which helps to expose their beauty because it looks better on paper than it does on the page.
- Lines in a poem are said to correspond when their sounds, number of syllables and placement match.