Figurative Language versus Literal Language


Figurative language and literal languages are useful whenever one compares one thing with another. It is celebrated for it helps to increase detail, emphasizing, bring clarity or freshness. It is put into operation primarily in poetry for it enhances fiction and it can be an economical way to get a picture or a point across. Figurative language exaggerates and alters the normal meanings of the component words.


Idiom   is an expression; phrase, word that cannot be taken literally and it have a literal meaning in one situation and a different idiomatic meaning in another situation. It does not always follow the normal rules of meaning and grammar. An example of an idiom is: To hold one’s horses. This can be used to mean the act of stopping and waiting patiently for someone or something.  An example in a sentence is: I told my friend to hold her horses when she started to leave the classroom.

A change in the grammatical structure may result to the idiom been used in the wrong way. For instance in the idiom such as I am broke which means having no money.  Once   the structure changes it gets a different meaning. For example, something is broken.


This is an inference that if things agree in some respects they probably agrees in others. It is a resemblance in some particulars between things otherwise unlike. Analogy is useful in decision making, problem solving, memory creativity, emotion, communication and explanation (Keane 1997). What make up analogy are two word pairs. It can be misunderstood if one fails to find a word that completes the second pair correctly. An example is: graceful is too clumsy as late is to blank.


This is a figure of speech in which an expression is useful when referring to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity. It compares two things directly. It is a condensed simile for it does not use as or like. Metaphor expresses the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar. An example of a metaphor is “But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill” (William Sharp, “The lonely Hunter”). Metaphor is used to see something in terms of something else. Metaphors are crucial in the poem, for they enhance the fiction and bring out the image they intend (Clive 2007).

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Simile is a figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds. It sets two ideas side by side. For instance; “like”. It indirectly compares the two ideas and allows them to remain distinct in spite of their similarities. An example of a simile in a sentence is; her skin was as soft as velvet. A Simile is useful when   creating a vivid image in the reader’s mind. They make the connection between the two things that are being compared. Simile can be understood to be a metaphor for they are both forms of comparison. Also, most of the similes maybe mistaken to be clichés which are phrases that are overused and betray a lack of original thought.


This is an inoffensive or indirect expression that is put into use instead of one that is seen offensive, or too harsh that might offend the audience. Euphemism can amuse, mislead or put a decent turn on events. For example, friendly fire meaning accidentally firing at and maybe killing a lot of people. Another example is curvy which can be used to replace overweight. One can misunderstand euphemism if the words used are wrong and their meaning is totally different to what was intended.

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This is an ambiguous grammatical construction. It occurs where the structure of a sentence has more than one meaning. It can be deliberate or accidental. It may be used to confuse or make subconscious suggestions when it is deliberate.  For example, they are flying planes can mean either that someone is flying planes or that something is flying planes. Amphiboly can be confusing when one do not understand the ambiguous word.


It is an opinion that is used so much and   lacks originality in thought, meaning or effect. It may or not be true. Some are facts, truism or stereotype. It is frequently put into use for an action or idea in modern culture, which expects, or is predictable based on an earlier event. It is often a vivid depiction of an abstraction that depends upon analogy or exaggeration for effect drawn from everyday experience. An example of cliché is: as simple as pie. It describes or shows how easy something is, and it does not have to be complicated. Nevertheless this could be mistaken to be a simile where something is compared to another. In this case, one could misunderstand the phrase and use it as a comparison to show how something is easy as a pie.

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This is an extravagant or statement that is not meant to be taken literally. It is used when creating a strong emotional response also often used for humor. It also compares two objects no wonder it is often confused with a simile or a metaphor. Often used to create emphasis or effect. Commonly used in poetry. An example of hyperbole is: she is as big as an elephant. This is to show that she is immense but not like an elephant. Since elephant is a massive animal, this clearly helps to show how big she is. This can is easily mistaken to be a simile. One mighty thinks that she is literally grown as an elephant, that she is as colossal  as an elephant.


This is a phrase or a word that is common in everyday, unconstrained conversation rather than in formal speech. It may fall into popular style or may be specific to a region depending on some factors.  They are useful to linguists to spread through normal conversation interaction of a language. An example, of colloquialism is: as old as the hills. This can be used to show that something is terribly old. This could be perceived or understood differently since colloquialism are different, for example, in different localities, regions. Someone could see it as a hyperbole with the intention of exaggeration.

Flame Word

This is insulting criticism or remark meant to incite anger. This can insult someone electronically also to insult a person  that  you are arguing with over the internet with the hopes with the hopes of reviving your arguments. Flame words help to create peace between two people who are fighting. Example of   flame word is: you are as ugly as warthog. A person mighty fell offended that he or she is being compared to a warthog, this mighty even lead to people arguing. This can be mistaken as been euphemism which may make someone laugh thus brightening the mood.


This are some of the words that make language stimulating and fun. It makes one enjoys reading or instance we find that euphemism helps to create humor. They make language easy. It also makes people to communicate well as they are able to bring out what they mean clearly.

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