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  • Figurative Language Notes

  • Literal Language

    Definition: the phrase means what it says


    I love pizza.

  • Figurative Language

    Definition: the phrase does NOT mean exactly what it says; writers use this technique to make images more vivid.

    Figurative language includes: similes, metaphors, alliteration, hyperboles, onomatopoeia, personification, idioms, symbolism, imagery, and cliches.

    Example: Pizza is food from heaven. (figurative language = metaphor)

  • Simile

    Definition: a comparison using like or as


    She swam like a dolphin.

    James was as tall as the Empire State Building!

  • Metaphor

    Definition: a comparison NOT using like or as


    He was a lazy lion who slept until noon.

    Jerrys legs are sticks; he is so skinny.

  • Idiom

    Definition: a common expression used to mean something else; its literal meaning may be ridiculous

    Example: Its raining cats and dogs!

    Check on your brother, please!

    You have ants in your pants.

  • Hyperbole

    Definition: an extreme exaggeration (common in tall tales)


    There were a thousand people at my party.

  • Onomatopoeia

    Definition: Sound words; words that sound like their meaning


    The bells clang loudly in the night.

    A wind swooshed through the window.

  • Assonance

    Definition: a series of words that have the same or a similar vowel sound


    In June, flowers bloomed underneath the moons light.

  • Alliteration

    Definition: a group of words that have a common sound


    Peter picked peppers.

    Cool, cold Coca-Cola quenches his thirst.

  • Personification

    Definition: giving human characteristics to a non-human entity.


    Fog tip-toed across the ocean.

    The butterfly danced in the wind.

  • Imagery

    Definition: sensory words used to make the image more vivid to the reader.


    Grandmas lemon cake smelled heavenly and had a taste that returned me to early childhood.

  • Symbolism Definition: a symbol works two ways:

    It is something itself, and it also suggests something deeper. They are not metaphors, however.

    A metaphor might read, His life was an oak tree that had just lost its leaves, a symbol might be the oak tree itself, which would symbolize/represent a long time.

    Example: Common symbols in writing: heart/a red rose

    = love; dove = peace; black = death

  • Denotative Meaning

    Definition: is the strict dictionary meaning of a word.


    America denotes the country south of Canada and north of Mexico.

  • Connotative Meaning

    Definition: is the emotional and imaginative association surrounding a word.


    Home is where the heart is.


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