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10 Great Essay Writing Tips

figurative language introduction for essay

Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.

Prepare to Answer the Question

Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.

figurative language introduction for essay

Plan Your Essay

Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.

Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable

You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.

figurative language introduction for essay

View It as a Conversation

Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.

figurative language introduction for essay

Provide the Context in the Introduction

If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.

figurative language introduction for essay

Explain What Needs to be Explained

Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.

figurative language introduction for essay

Answer All the Questions

After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.

figurative language introduction for essay

Stay Focused as You Write

Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.

figurative language introduction for essay

Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread

When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.

figurative language introduction for essay

Avoid Filling the Page with Words

A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.


figurative language introduction for essay


Figurative Language Essays

Figurative language in the book thief.

Figurative language is language that uses words or expressions with a meaning that is different from the actual interpretation. “His clothes seemed to weigh him down, and his tiredness was such that an itch could break him in two.” (Zusak 185). This is an example of a simile. This particular simile is trying to tell you how tired the character really is. By using figurative language the author gets to have a little more mystery in the story. What I mean by this is that the mystery is there because now you have to decode what the author actually wants to say.

Viva La Vida Figurative Language Analysis

Just like a lifecycle, everything comes to a halt, and can sometimes result in, the corruption of feelings, and emotions. Define human nature, “characterize humankind, especially in contrast with other living things,” but humankind doesn’t always conclude in happiness, but a lesson learned. For example, The Count of Monte Cristo, and the song “Viva La Vida” the writers use of figurative language reveals that theme human nature, and power, can lead to destruction ones life, and can corrupt them.

Two Kinds Figurative Language

Paulo Coelho once said “Don't waste your time on explanations, people only hear what they want to hear.” The quote said by Paul Coelho connects to the story as a mood of a life lesson within the main character (narrator) that goes through major struggles throughout their life of trying to keep their mother satisfied with their actions. The mood shows how each thing changes throughout time and more. In the story “Two kinds” by Amy Tan, the author uses figurative language and descriptive language to develop the mood of the story.

Figurative Language In November By Cynthia Rylant

I can tell you the authors style in the book In November by Cynthia Rylant. The style in her writings are mostly personification or figurative language. I know this because on page 4 it says "spreading there arms like dancers" based on what I read Cynthia Rylant uses personification also uses a simile. The book In November Cynthia uses tree limbs as dancers. She give a descriptive look as what the tree looks like. Cynthia Rylant uses a human action to a non human thing.

The Contender By Walter Dean Myer And 'The Treasure Of Lemon Brown'

Figurative language is a language that uses words or expressions with a meaning that is different from the literal interpretation. When the author uses literary language, he or she is stating the facts as they are. Figurative language is very common in poetry, and is also used in prose and nonfiction as well. In the stories “The Treasure of Lemon Brown” by Walter Dean Myer and “ The Contender” by Robert Lipsyte the authors use figurative language to describe the mood, setting, and the characters.

Figurative Language In Canyons

Figurative language is language that which expressions with a different meaning from what it may seem like at if taken literally. By using figurative language, it allows for authors to better develop points, ideas, actions, or scenery. In the stories “Canyons” written by Gary Paulsen and “Treasure of Lemon Brown” written by Walter Dean Myers the authors use figurative language to develop the scene and characters in a creative way and more interesting way for the reader.

The Names Billy Collins Essay

Figurative language plays a major role in literature. The use of multiple types of figurative language adds quality, strength, and depth through literary works. “Applying the right element in making specific points in writing is necessary to make figurative language work.” For example, Billy Collins uses a few different types of figurative language to strengthen his poem, The Names. It is moving that Billy Collins uses imagery, metaphors, and allegory in his poem because those elements help depict a deeper meaning of his thoughts and remembrance of 9/11.

Ap English Language Figurative Language

Every morning, a 71 year-old male stranger accompanies me on my way to school. I only know of his name, but I enjoy his company and chuckle as he comments on my generation’s use of language. Yet once NPR’s linguistic segment of Fresh Air ends, Geoff Nunberg’s witty remarks fade into the abyss. In the quietness of the car, I am left to revel in my own passion for languages: a transformative journey through Spanish and Chinese.

Patrick Henry's Speech To The Virginia Convention

Figurative Language is the art of using figures of speech, loaded words, appeals, etc. they are used to have more of an impact and to persuade the listeners to join your side. in his speech, Patrick Henry tried to appeal to the audience by bringing up God into

A Good Man Is Hard To Find Figurative Language Analysis

The use of figurative language in writing brings a story to life in the mind of the reader giving them a better grasp of the events taking place. Using hyperbole, simile and personification serves to develop the characters of a story as well as enhancing its theme (Kirszner and Mandell, 2012).

Figurative Language And Literary Devices

Many different forms of figurative language I used throughout the story to exhilarate the irony. The opening description of Ethan is full of ironic expressions. Figurative language is also used to the describe reactions to events in the story. The author is very descriptive in this short story. The use of figurative language aids in description of events, the setting, mood, and characters’ appearance and response. Edith Wharton, the author, use of literary devices allows the story to come alive and to also require the reader to think deeply about the true meanings.

The speaker did a very good job with his speech. His speech I believe is more informative, because he is describing his recent experience with appendicitis. The area that I liked most about his speech was his introduction. He had a very good hooked that got a lot of people’s attention including my own. He scared me for a moment, because he made everybody believe that he was going to show everybody his appendix that he just had removed from his body. Instead he showed the appendix of a book. Also, as he presented his speech he expressed what happened to him with very personal information. This information helped him establish his credibility. He presented his speech very well and sounded very confident. However, there were a few brief pauses

Richard Connell Figurative Language Analysis

Richard Connell uses figurative language to describe the mood and the tone because he wants us to the reader to know the character feeling and the emotion they are going to. Also the attitude the character gives in a situation. So Richard Connell uses figurative language to show the mood and the tone. For example “Rainsford and his friend Whitney are sailing in the middle of the night so dark that it look like moist black velvet.” The mood that Rainsford is calm. Another example is “Rainsford's impulse was to hurt himself down like a panther.” He is being compared to the panther. The mood is angry and the tone is aggressive. This is how Richard Connell uses figurative language to describe the mood and the tone.

Rhyme Scheme Of Sonnet 18

Next let’s have a look at imagery which is words that appeal to our five senses to create a vivid

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How to Add Figurative Language to an Essay

Rochelle Spears Wilson

How to Start an Introduction When Writing an Essay About Poetry

Writers use figurative language to add interest, variety and personality to their work. Figurative language is broadly defined as using words to paint a picture in the reader’s mind. Specific uses of figurative language include similes, metaphors, alliteration, hyperbole and onomatopoeia. If you’d like to add figurative language to your essay, the best time to do this is during the revision stage of the writing process.

Mark Dead Words

After you’ve completed a first draft of your essay, print off a copy and use a highlighter or colored pen to mark any words or phrases that are overused, boring, or otherwise lifeless. Words to mark might include:

• A lot • Many • Big • Small • Fun • Cool • Awesome • Great • Exciting • Good • Happy • Sad • Really

These words aren’t necessarily bad, but they’re boring and don’t paint a clear picture for the reader because they’re subject to the reader’s interpretation.

Show, Don’t Tell

Now that you’ve marked your dead words and phrases, you can work on replacing them with words and phrases that come alive. Your goal is to show, not tell, the reader what is happening in your essay, and you can do this by including sensory details. Consider the following sets of sentences:

• The workday went by slowly. I was really excited to start my vacation.

• I watched the clock, which seemed to be moving more slowly than usual. At exactly 5 p.m., it was like a bolt of lightning hit my chair. I jumped up, grabbed my bag, and zoomed off to board a plane for paradise. By the time I got to the airport, I could almost smell the saltwater.

Both sets of sentences convey the idea that the author was excited to go on vacation, but the second set is much more effective because the use of figurative language helps the reader visualize the author’s excitement.

Don’t Overdo It

Figurative language should be a natural part of your essay. If your descriptions sound forced or like you’ve just stuck them in to meet a requirement, go back and revise your work. Think about how you’d like your audience to feel as they’re reading your essay and then use figurative language accordingly. Also, remember that you don’t have to use every type of figurative language in one essay.

Keep Practicing

As you continue developing your skills as a writer, you will find that using figurative language becomes more natural. Reading descriptive literature can help speed up this process, as can having someone else review your work.

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Rochelle Spears Wilson holds a MA in professional writing and a BA in English. She was a classroom teacher for nine years and taught English, social studies and technology. She has worked with students in grades 4-12 and now owns her own consulting business.

How to Use Good Figurative Language for Essays

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Table of contents

Figurative language is a great way to make your essays more engaging and interesting for your readers. Not only does it add depth and nuance to your writing, but it also makes your arguments more persuasive.

In this post, we'll explore some of the best ways to use figurative language in your essays . We'll also look at a few specific examples of how to use good figurative language for essays to help you get started. So if you want to add some punch to your writing, keep reading!

What is Figurative Language in Writing

A figurative language is a form of writing that uses words or expressions in a non-literal way to add interest. The terms used in figurative language are not to be taken literally. In other words, it's a literary device that adds deeper meaning to your essay and makes your writing more engaging.

Why do authors use figurative language?

Authors use figurative language to make their stories more interesting to the readers. They also use them to evoke emotional reactions so they can connect deeply with the readers and hold their attention.

Can you use figurative language in academic writing?

Yes. You can use figurative language in academic writing if you are tactical enough to use it well. Academic writing is not always flowery, and using many figures of speech may look like fluff. Therefore, you should use them sparingly.

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Importance of figurative language in essays.

Why resort to dull writing when you can use literary devices to help you express better, write impactfully and drive the message home? Here’s how you can take your writing to the next level by adding good figurative language for essays.

Makes essays interesting

Let's face it—plain, literal writing can be pretty boring. However, your essay becomes more enjoyable and interesting when you add a few well-chosen metaphors or similes. For instance, compare these two sentences:

Sentence 1: The wind was howling.

Sentence 2: The wind was like a wolf, howling at the moon.

While sentence 1 is not incorrect and reads fine, the second one is interesting and evocative.

Evokes emotions

In addition to making your essay more intriguing, figurative language makes it more evocative. This means that it can create an emotional reaction, which helps you connect better with your readers.

For example, if you're describing a sunset, you could say it was "red and orange." But if you want to evoke an emotional reaction, you could say, "The sunset was like a giant fireball, sinking slowly into the horizon."

Makes a persuasive argument

Finally, figurative language is also helpful when making a persuasive argument as in an argumentative essay . You can use them to communicate complicated ideas more clearly than in literal language.

For example, let's say you're trying to argue that somebody is acting selfishly. Instead of simply saying they're "selfish," you can drive your point home by saying, "She's acting like the world revolves around her!".

What are the 5 Main Types of Figurative Language

Now that you know what figurative language is and the importance of using them in essays, let’s take a look at the five main types of figurative language you can use, along with some examples.

A simile is a figure of speech that uses words "like" or "as" to compare two things that are not actually alike. Similes are often used in poetry and song lyrics to create imagery and help the reader visualize what the writer is saying.

For example, when you say, "My heart was like a rock tumbling down a mountainside," you are painting a vivid picture of how your heart reacted to a situation.

5 examples of a simile:

2. Metaphor

A metaphor is a figure of speech that compares two, unlike things without using the words "like" or "as." For example, you might say, "Love is a rose." to mean that love is beautiful and special, but it can also have thorns that can hurt you.

Metaphors are often used to make complex ideas more relatable and easier to understand.

5 examples of a metaphor:

3. Hyperbole

Hyperbole is an exaggeration used for emphasis or comic effect. It's often used in fiction and advertising to grab attention and make an impact.

5 examples of hyperbole:

4. Personification

Personification is a figurative language that gives human characteristics to nonhuman objects or concepts. It makes descriptions more vivid and interesting by making them relatable to human experiences.

5 examples of personification:

5. Symbolism

Symbolism is when an object or action represents something else, usually something abstract, like an emotion or quality.

For instance, the color black often symbolizes death or darkness, while white might represent purity or innocence. In literature, authors often use symbolism to give their stories more depth and meaning.

Want to learn more about symbolism in writing? Check out this video by Reedsy .

4 Ways to Use Good Figurative Language for Essays

Figurative language can turn a simple description into a vivid work of art. However, it can be tough to know where to start if you've never used figurative language before. Here are some practical ways to add them to your essays.

Use hyperbole to reveal character traits

Hyperbole is an excellent tool to reveal the character traits of characters in your essay. You can use them to express how a particular character thinks, acts, feels, or behaves.

An exaggerated speech can show precisely how they feel about a situation. For instance, when a character says: "I tried calling you a million times!" This can reveal that the character is young, dramatic, and impatient.

Use metaphors to describe situations and settings

Similes and metaphors are the best figures of speech for describing situations or settings.

For instance, you could say, "Life is a journey" to describe the ups and downs of life's experiences. Or, you can say, "She was as angry as a hornet" to describe someone who was very angry.

Create some humor

You can use figurative language like hyperbole or personification to create a little humor in your essay. The exaggeration that comes with hyperbole can make your writing humorous and exciting to read.

For instance, when describing a disastrous date you went on, you might write: "He was chewing with his mouth open the whole time, and I was sure I saw something moving around in there. I don't think I've ever been so disgusted in my life."

By exaggerating the grossness of the situation, you add humor and a gross-out factor to your story, which will keep your readers entertained.

Use symbolism to give more meaning to objects

Make your readers think critically by giving more profound meaning to objects, animals, or characters with a symbolic meaning.

What is an example of a figurative language paragraph?

In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare writes, "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun."

Shakespeare uses a simile to compare Juliet to the sun in this instance. He is saying that just as the sun brings light to the dawn, Juliet brings light into Romeo's life.

5 Tips To Use Figurative Language Effectively In Essays

When adding figurative language to your essays, you have to be tactical so they don't distort the meaning or disrupt the natural flow of your writing. Here are five tips on how to use figurative language effectively in essays.

Understand your goal

Before using any figurative language in your essay, know why you want to use them and whether they fit into the content. Also, understand whether they match the tone and style of your writing before adding them to the essay.

Use metaphors and similes sparingly

While metaphors and similes can make your essays interesting, they can become cliche and lose meaning if overused. When writing your essays, use them sparingly and only when they genuinely impact your writing.

Choose your words carefully

Figurative language is all about using words in new and interesting ways. When choosing your words and phrases, don't be afraid to experiment. Try out different figures of speech until you find the best fit for your essay context and message.

Strike a good balance

It's essential to strike a balance when using figurative language. Too much and it will become confusing and difficult to follow; too little and it will have no impact.

Find a middle ground that allows you to effectively communicate your ideas without overwhelming the reader.

Know the meaning

Finally, avoid flushing figures of speech into your essay just because you've heard them or read them somewhere. If you're unsure of the meaning, research and understand it first, and see if it fits your essay before ambiguously fixing words and phrases.

Final thoughts

Figurative language is a powerful tool that can add depth and dimension to your essays. Since they are diverse and dynamic, you must choose your words and phrases carefully to find the ones that work best for your essay.

Once you understand how to effectively use similes, metaphors, hyperbole, personification, and symbolism, you can create vivid images, emphasize important points, and set the tone for your story.

Now that you know how to add good figurative language for essays, don't hesitate to use them in your next essay writing assignment — you may be surprised by how striking and captivating your essay comes out.

At Writers Per Hour , we have expert writers who are aware of different literary devices such as figurative language and know how to use them to takes essays to the next level.

What’s more, apart from writing essays from scratch, we also provide editing and proofreading services and give your essays that final finishing touch that can help you get the grades you desire.

Last edit at Dec 25 2022

Stefani Holloway

Stefani is a professional writer and blogger at Writers Per Hour . She primarily contributes articles about careers, leadership, business, and writing. Her educational background in family science and journalism has given her a broad base from which to approach many topics. She especially enjoys preparing resumes for individuals who are changing careers.

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Figurative Language Essay Examples

figurative language introduction for essay

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Figurative Language Theory

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Figurative language is language that describes something by comparing it to something else. Figurative language goes beyond the literal meaning of words to describe or explain a subject. There are many types of figurative language, including similes, metaphors, alliteration, onomatopoeia, imagery, personification, and hyperbole. Authors use figurative language to help the reader see beyond the written words on the page and to visualize what is going on in the story or poem. You are using figurative language when writing goes beyond the actual meanings of words so that the reader gains new insights into the objects or subjects in the work.

Types of Figurative Language

There are many types of figurative language. Some include the use of a specific type of word or word meaning such as: 1. Simile A simile is a figure of speech that compares two different things, usually using the words like or as. His feet were as big as boats. She’s as light as a feather.


Proficient in: Language

“ Amazing as always, gave her a week to finish a big assignment and came through way ahead of time. ”

The snow was like a blanket. She ate like a bird. 2. Metaphor A metaphor compares two different things without using the words like or as. The comparison is instead made using some form of the “be” verb. Her hair is silk. My hands are ice. The football player is an ox. 3. Personification Personification is a figure of speech in which an animal, inanimate object, or abstract concept is given human characteristics. a smiling moon art is a jealous mistress the wind screams the rain kissed her face

Euphony Euphony is used for effects which are pleasant, rhythmical and harmonious.

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An example of euphony is the poem Some Sweet Day.

Some day Love shall claim his own Some day Right ascend his throne, Some day hidden Truth be known; Some day—some sweet day. — Lewis J. Bates, the poem Some Sweet Day

Observe the symmetry of the lines and how the last syllable in the first three lines rhyme. Poetry is considered euphonic, as is well-crafted literary prose [example needed]. Important phonaesthetic devices of poetry are rhyme, assonance and alliteration. Closely related to euphony and cacophony is the concept of consonance and dissonance.

Periphrasis Definition: The term ‘periphrasis’ refers to the use of excessive language and surplus words to convey a meaning that could otherwise be conveyed with fewer words and in more direct a manner. The use of this literary device can be to embellish a sentence, to create a grander effect, to beat around the bush and to draw attention away from the crux of the message being conveyed. Example:

Instead of simply saying “I am displeased with your behavior”, one can say, “The manner in which you have conducted yourself in my presence of late has caused me to feel uncomfortable and has resulted in my feeling disgruntled and disappointed with you”.

Figurative Language Use and Examples

Figurative language is used in poems, songs, books, short stories, and in everyday language. The use of similes and hyperboles are able to affect the tone, meaning and theme that better explain the meaning in stories and songs. Figurative language is meant to appeal to the senses in order to provide interest and evoke emotion in what is being read or heard. Alicia Keys, “This Girl Is On Fire”, is a great example of figurative language. The figurative language in this song provides a respectful and jovial tone, and it also demonstrates the theme of the capability of potential and societies urge to undermine the success of others.

The first verse of the song sets the tone of respect and the theme of potential. The first lines of the song use multiple metaphors that read “She’s just a girl, and she’s on fire. Hotter than a fantasy, longer like a highway. She’s living in a world, and it’s on fire,” which demonstrate how this girl is just an ordinary girl but she has been able to accomplish great things in this competitive world that we live in. The following verse also demonstrates how the ordinary girl has “stood her ground” in the competitive world. The verse contains an idiom that reads “Oh, she got both feet on the ground…Oh, she got her head in the clouds and she’s not backing down,” which states that the ordinary girl has ideas that may seem unrealistic but she will strive to make these ideas come to life and not just be a daydream. Throughout the song “This girl is on fire” is repeated, hence it is the chorus. When the chorus is on, the audience just awaits that powerful note, because throughout the song Alicia Keys puts the most emphasis on these five words. The repetition of that line demonstrates the strength and potential this ordinary girl has. Also the repetition and vibrato behind the chorus, makes the metaphor that much more powerful and believable to the audience; it is able to evoke a sense of hope in the audience for this ordinary girl.

The fourth verse of the songs reads “Looks like a girl, but she’s a flame. So bright, she can burn your eyes. Better look the other way,” which makes a great example of the power this girl has. The combination of a simile and metaphor in the first line portrays that the girl is no ordinary girl. When people look at her, they probably just see an ordinary girl walking the street that might not be doing anything great with her life. But the metaphor “she’s a flame” contradicts that completely. Metaphors make stronger comparisons between two things than a simile does. Since the metaphor contradicts the simile, then the metaphor overpowers the simile stating that the girl is not an ordinary girl. The next two lines of the verse put more emphasis on the girl being a flame. The metaphor is a representation of how great the girl is. The fire and flame representing this girl is something uncommon in the competitive world we live in,because as a whole people want to be more successful than others. Therefore her flame “burns people’s eyes” because they are not prepared for potential within her. The potential behind her is so powerful that people are not able to handle her strength so they “better look the other way,” or they will get burned by her passion to succeed in life. It is also be another example of how people try to undermine other’s success, but no one will be able to bring down her hope for greatness.

The next lines of the verse are a combination of hyperboles and metaphors. “You can try but you’ll never forget her name. She’s on top of the world. Hottest of the hottest girls say,” these lines demonstrate that she already has achieved some of her goals. The first line is a hyperbole that is also related to the example stated above about how people try to undermine the success of others, but she will not let people take away her success. Therefore even though people might try forget her and the goals she has accomplished, she will not let it happen. Also since “she is a fire” her success is so great that it would be hard to forget. The metaphor and idiom “she’s on top of the world” also demonstrates the success that she has achieved. The idiom means that she has reached her goal and succeeded which makes it harder for people to forget her. This is clear because if “she is on top of the world” then she has made a name for herself that has impacted the world and her life immensely. Therefore she will not just be an ordinary girl anymore, and now she will not be overlooked or forgotten.

The next verse reads “Everybody stands, as she goes by. Cause they can see the flame that’s in her eyes. Watch her when she’s lighting up the night,” which is able to demonstrate how people do not view her as an ordinary girl anymore. When people see her they stop to take notice of the greatness that she has become. The metaphor of “the flame in her eyes” demonstrates how she is not done trying to achieve her goals.This girl has far more potential left in her and will accomplish them. The next metaphor demonstrates that people now see the hope and potential she has within her. When she reaches the rest of her potential, she will “night up the light”. The idiom means that the feeling she will feel when she has reached her full potential will be strong enough that people will see how her attitude changes to bright and cheery, and her bright attitude will be able to brighten up the night. The idiom just restates the strength and potential this not so ordinary girl has.

The figurative language is full of praise for this not so ordinary girl. The explanation of how great and powerful this girl is demonstrates the respect the girl deserves. She was able to reach her goals even though people might not have believed in her. Therefore the tone is evident throughout the whole song, and so are the themes. This girl has reached her full potential and people are now taking notice, so now she will be respected and not forgotten. The figurative language in this song was well combined and well orchestrated to show the theme and tone simultaneously.

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Figurative Language Theory

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Ways to Use Figurative Language in Writing

Figurative language , also called a figure of speech, is a word or phrase that departs from literal language to express comparison, add emphasis or clarity, or make the writing more interesting with the addition of color or freshness.

Metaphors and similes are the two most commonly used figures of speech, but hyperbole, synecdoche, and personification are also figures of speech that are in a good writer's toolbox.

Figurative language enhances your fiction if it's used competently and can be an economical way of getting an image or a point across. But if it's used incorrectly, figurative language can be confusing or downright silly -- a true mark of an amateur writer. Figurative language can also be described as rhetorical figures or  metaphorical language ; whichever term you use, these are called literary devices.

Why Figurative Language Is Important to Good Writing

Figurative language can transform ordinary descriptions into evocative events, enhance the emotional significance of passages, and turn prose into a form of poetry. It can also help the reader to understand the underlying symbolism of a scene or more fully recognize a literary theme. Figurative language in the hands of a talented writer is one of the tools that turn ordinary writing into literature.

How to Use Figurative Language Effectively

There is no one right way to use figurative language. That said, there are many ways to use figurative language poorly. Bear a few rules in mind when use metaphors, similes, and other literary devices:

One very good way to explore figurative language is to read it as written by some of the great literary figures. As you pick up a book by Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, or Thomas Wolfe, for instance, use a highlighter to mark how these writers used different forms of figurative language and note how it ​fits with their writing style as a whole. This technique will help you to understand how and why it is used and learn how to better integrate it into your writing.

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figurative language introduction for essay

Free Figurative Language Essays and Papers

figurative language introduction for essay

Essay on Figurative Language in A Work of Artifice

Figurative Language in A Work of Artifice by Marge Piercy "A clever trick, crafty device, or stratagem" is how Webster's Encyclopedia of Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language defines Artifice. Marge Piercy definitely used "crafty" techniques in writing "A Work of Artifice." In this poem, Piercy reflects on the growth of a bonsai tree, considering the molded existence of what it is to what it could have naturally been. With deeper analysis of this poem, the correlation between a bonsai

Figurative Language

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Figurative Language Essay

humans? Figurative language is a very important mechanism for the structure of writing. Figurative language is when authors use figures of speech in order to achieve a more complicated understanding of their work, and to add color to the text.There are many different forms of figurative language including similes, metaphors, hyperboles, and many more. It also helps describe the complexities of humans. Complexities of humans are what make us different than other organisms. Figurative language is used

Syntax And Figurative Language

Definition As stated on the American-Speech Language-Association (ASHA) website (2017), language is made up of socially shared rules that individuals use in order to express needs and/or wants. In order to use language effectively, individuals must understand how to make new words (morphology), how to put words together (syntax), what word combinations are best used in a given situation (pragmatics) and word meaning, which is semantics. These components of language are closely intertwined and are essential

Watkin Tench Figurative Language

Literal and figurative language is mainly used as a base in structuring literary texts. It is used as stylistic devices to make narrations appear lively such that readers can create mental pictures while going through the text. Macquarie pen anthology of Australian literature comprises of several literature work. It entails fiction, letters and anthology maps among others. The accounts of this collection range from settlers to gothic stories. Settlement at Port Jackson is a narration by Watkin Tench

Examples Of Figurative Language In Antigone

able to create this fantasy world and the entirety of its operations within one’s own imagination. To take this figurative journey, authors must use figurative language, specifically metaphors and similes. When authors relate confusing messages to something the readers can comprehend, it guides the readers to make better sense of the work. In Antigone, Sophocles leaned on figurative language to assist in the creation of the drama. Specifically in Ode 1, he used similes and metaphors to both help the

Old Bones Figurative Language

overall metaphor is to not fight death when it’s your time for peace. Old Bones’ figurative language, juxtaposition of words, and rhythm help the reader to understand the dominant image, as well as the overall metaphor. Through these writing tools, readers are able to better understand the underlying message in the poem Old Bones by Chloe Love. The poem Old Bones by Chloe Love contains many examples of figurative language, including similes, allusion, and symbolism, all which help the reader understand

Hummingbird Figurative Language

Wilco’s “Hummingbird” incorporates figurative language frequently to represent or characterize the man. A leading theme within the song is the man’s weak character, primarily conveyed via figurative language. In the poem, a disparity between the man’s figurative size and the objects around him reinforces the man’s fragile state. The first instance in which the man’s weakness of character is in the first line, “His goal in life was to be an echo” (Wilco 1). The word “echo” is an example of auditory

The Fish Figurative Language

Elizabeth Bishop is about a person that catches a well-sought after fish and realizes the fish is still something worth fighting for. The diction used in this poem would be informal because they talk in a relaxed conversational language. The speaker does use a ton of figurative language which is what made this one of Elizabeth Bishop's most famous poems. There is some positive connotation in the speaker's words mainly used to describe the relationship the speaker has with the fish. The speaker also uses

Figurative Language Case Study

1. In what ways does the language environment change when a child enters the primary grades? • The primary years mark changes in children’s language environment in three major ways: children spend more time in non-home settings with nonrelatives, school settings increasingly involve formal instruction and academic English, and children begin to read independently and thus experience new genres and written language structures. 2. Identify the key issues in the controversy about phonics instruction

Figurative Language In Into The Wild

In his book, “Into The Wild” Krakauer develops a position on McCandless through the use of figurative language in the way that he describes McCandless. Krakauer, although sympathetic to what McCandless was going through, failed to show McCandless as a misunderstood, noble young man. Instead Krakauer portray McCandless as immature and indecisive. He does this by including all of McCandless’ encounters with adult where he became dependent on someone's help and guidance. Also, he includes all the time

Figurative Language Analysis

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Landlady Figurative Language

Landlady” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” both tell the stories of horrific events obvious to the reader long before the events occur. The authors use many different styles to develop their stories, in “The Landlady” Dahl uses foreshadowing and other figurative language to tell the story of a brisk young business man called Billy Weaver. Billy checks himself into an inn, expecting a pleasant night at a cheap rate when things take a turn for the worse, Billy begins to realize things are not as the seemed at

Examples Of Figurative Language In To Kill A Mockingbird

Figurative language is in most well written novels. It helps develop the overall theme the author is trying to portray. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, I noticed Harper Lee distinctively used two types of figurative language. The first is symbolism, Lee used this twice during the novel with the mockingbird representing beauty innocence and Boo Radley representing the good in people. The second is motifs, Lee used this to emphasize the small town life in Maycomb, Alabama and helps give a better

Jonathan Edwards Figurative Language Analysis

Language and communication has always been a part of human nature, whether that be in the form of grunts and pictures or in spoken word. The Iroquois Constitution and the work of Jonathan Edwards are no different in this manner however the way in which they are written is contrasting. Throughout this essay I will show the similarities and differences between the two documents and compare the uses of figurative language between the two. In Dekanawida's Iroquois Constitution figurative language is

Figurative Language In Raising A Black Boy

America. Through the use of figurative language, Clint Smith shares his personal experiences and opinions about how the amount of melanin in a person’s skin shouldn’t determine whether they should live. Figurative language is a speech or sound that creates a certain effect. By using anaphora, consonance, polysyndeton, and imagery Smith allows the reader to feel what he feels, visualize what he experienced, and understand an undeniable struggle. The most effectively used language is anaphora. Anaphora is

Figurative Language In Julius Caesar

Antony exceeds Brutus in the matter of performance because he spells out his evidence without using words. His use of these nonverbal tools helps him draw the attention of the fickle audience. After Brutus finishes his plain and dull speech, Antony takes the stand with a bored and fickle audience not only by using clever speech tactics, but by keeping their fading attention by using nonverbal tactics. The use of these so-called props keep them listening as he explains himself. For example, right

The authors use specific types of figurative language varying the experience the reader has with the poem; connotation, imagery, simile, metaphor, and personification provide the audience with the perspective the author feels necessary. “There is no Frigate like a Book”, “The Man with Night Sweats”, “Bright Star”, “It sifts from Leaden Sieves”, and “The Telephone” show the reader specific elements of figurative language. The connotation of a word refers to the emotional and cultural association

Shooting An Elephant Figurative Language

In his essay, “Shooting an Elephant”, Orwell utilises figurative language to convey his purpose of discussing the dangers of societal influences on others. “Shooting an Elephant” illustrates a corrupted town and the inhumane acts of the people living there, as shown through Orwell’s use of metaphor, simile, and oxymoron. The use of this figurative language aids in amplifying the monstrous acts of the people. Orwell’s use of figurative language such as metaphor, simile, and oxymoron reinforces the

John Dalton Figurative Language

to John Dalton through the use of figurative language and colloquialism. The author develops the theme

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Figurative vs Literal Language Classification Essay

Introduction, types of figurative language.

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This study explores the concept of figurative language and the various types of figurative language that exist. The essay will also focus on contexts in which the various types of figurative language can be used.

Figurative language refers to the use of “figures of speech” in describing something by way of making comparison between it and something else (French and Wettstein, 2001). The use of figurative language does not include the literal meaning of the words. In literature, the use of figures of speech is often associated with poetry. Figurative language is also used in everyday conversations and in writing for the purposes of clarity and emphasis. The proper use of figurative language enhances fiction.

Idiom: According to Fernando (1997), an idiom is a phrase whose meaning cannot be derived from the meaning of the words that make up the phrase. An idiom is grammatically unique. An example of an idiom is “do not count your chicken before they hatch.” This idiom is used to mean that a person should not assume that something would happen until it has happened. Idioms are used to enrich language. They might be misunderstood if the users are not knowledgeable about the meaning.

Analogy: This is used to refer to the use of figurative language to compare two different things with an aim of portraying some similarity between them. An analogy is used to explain the relationships that exist between two terms (Carroll, 1997). A good analogy helps in clarifying issues. An example of an analogy is: “Students are more like oysters than sausages. Teaching is not supposed to stuff and seal them up, but to help them to open up and realize the riches within.” Misunderstanding occurs if the symbols being used do not have meaning to both parties.

Metaphor: A metaphor is used to refer to the comparison made between two things that are not alike but they share something in common (Fernando, 1997). A metaphor is positive and may use words to indicate, “You are something.” For example, “you are what you eat.” The purpose of a metaphor is to state a fact or indicate a verbal picture by using comparison. Use of metaphors may result to misunderstanding if it is difficult to decipher what it implies.

Simile: This is a comparison between two not similar things but they possess certain common qualities (French and Wettstein, 2001). Comparison is expressed by the use of words such as; like, as, than, or as if . Example of a simile is “as white as snow.” The use of similes might lead to misunderstandings when individuals are described using negative qualities.

Cliché: This is an expression or a phrase that has been regularly used until it has become boring (French and Wettstein, 2001). The overuse of the phrase makes it predictable. An example of a cliché is “there is no place like home.” A cliché is used to denote the loss of originality of the phrase. The term might lead to a misunderstanding when used inappropriately.

Amphiboly: An amphiboly can be referred to as an argument that places a lot of reliance on words that are ambiguous with the aim of misleading and confusing a particular audience. It results from a sentence whose structure is faulty (Carroll, 1997). Example of an amphiboly is “best of the beatles.” The purpose of using this form of figurative language is to intentionally mislead. Misunderstanding might arise because the words used are not correct and they tend to have some other meaning other than what the meaning attached to them by the audience.

Flame word: Flame words are used when interacting through the social media such as while chatting through email. Irony and sarcasm is used to irritate the opponent but with no intention of some disagreement (Carroll, 1997). An example of a flame word is; ‘you are such an idiot; I will show how to do it.’ Use of flame words might lead to misunderstanding if one of the parties in the conversation is agitated.

Hyperbole: French and Wettstein (2001) argue that this is the dramatic exaggeration of a statement such that one can hardly believe that there is some element of truth in it. The purpose of a hyperbole is to emphasize the truth of a statement. For example, “he was so hungry that he ate the whole cornfield and stalks.” Misunderstanding occurs because the use of hyperbole demonstrates something that is impossible and unrealistic.

Euphemism: This refers to the replacing of a term that is considered offensive with another which is seen as non-offensive (French and Wettstein, 2001). For example, a word such as ‘died’ may be used in place of ‘passed away.’ Euphemism is used to substitute some words with others. Misunderstanding occurs when the new word used does not have similar meaning to the one it replaces.

Colloquialism: This statement is often used during conversations than while writing or making formal speeches. The use of colloquial statements is important because it gives people a sense of relaxation and freedom from using too formal language (Carroll, 1997). Colloquialism is limiting because the group that commonly uses them can only understand the statements. Example: ‘The MPs were described as ‘numpties’, this is a colloquialism meaning idiots.’

In conclusion, figurative language is widely used in conversations and in writing. The various forms of figurative language have particular meanings and they are used in varying circumstances. Misunderstandings may arise from the use of figurative speech especially when there is lack of shared meaning of the words that are used.

Carroll, D.W. (1997). Psychology of language . New York: Macmillan Publishers.

French, A.P, and Wettstein, K.H. (2001). Figurative Language .London: Blackwell publishers.

Fernando, C. (1997). Idioms and idiomacy .London: Oxford University Press.

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How to Write a Composition on the Figurative Language of a Poem

Michael stratford, 26 sep 2017.

Figurative language imparts meaning and conveys authorial intent.

Compositions about a poem's figurative language fall into the category of literary response. Advanced Placement English Literature essays are a good model for these as excellent examples of brevity and conciseness. However, you don't need to be an AP level student to write a good essay on poetic language; your essay should answer only two questions: What is the poem about, and how does the author make you understand this?

Explore this article

1 The Essay's Thesis

Your opening sentence, or paragraph, if your essay is lengthy, begins with the author's name; the piece's name; the intent, or what the poem is about; and the figurative language devices used, which is how the author makes you see the intent. For example: "William Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 immortalizes the poet's lover through implied metaphor, simile and personification." This creates your essay's thesis. The thesis statement has an arguable claim -- the poet's intent to immortalize, and proofs for the claim -- the three literary devices.

Vocabulary Builder

2 proceed to body paragraphs.

You now have not only the essay's opening, but also the subjects of its three topic sentences and sections. Body paragraph one or section one, for example, will discuss similes found in the poem, paragraph/section two the implied metaphors, and paragraph/section three the personification. Each body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that names and explains the use of figurative language: "Shakespeare's lover wins out over the summer with the implied metaphors he uses." Immediately follow with an example -- a concrete detail -- for proof: "In line 4, he notes 'Summer's lease hath all too short a date.'"

3 Quotes and Commentary

Notice that your concrete detail naturally begins your commentary, where you will explain the quote and offer your own thoughts about it, something like: "Shakespeare's lover obviously outshines the summer months for him; her happy season, as implied, is much longer." Your body paragraphs should continue the pattern of concrete detail plus commentary for at least three sections. A good rule of thumb, the Schaffer method of paragraph structure, is to group together a topic sentence (TS), followed by a quote or similar concrete detail (CD) and two commentary sentences (CM). The formula runs: TS/CD/CM/CM/CD/CM/CM/CD/CM/CM and closing.

4 The Poet's Intent

Your essay also needs a closing paragraph that discusses the poet's intent in using figurative language. You should never lose sight of the question, "What is the poem about?" Remember that poets use figuratives to create imagery, imply character and carry literal expressions into the abstract; be prepared to explain why a summer's day would compare unfavorably with a woman whom a man famously loves, when contrasted by similes, implied metaphors and personifications.

About the Author

Michael Stratford is a National Board-certified and Single Subject Credentialed teacher with a Master of Science in educational rehabilitation (University of Montana, 1995). He has taught English at the 6-12 level for more than 20 years. He has written extensively in literary criticism, student writing syllabi and numerous classroom educational paradigms.

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