Figurative Language

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Figurative Language versus Literal Language

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Figurative Language versus Literal Language


Figurative language is used to create interest among the reader by using unusual comparisons that color the subject matter with a charming tone (Wettstein, 2001). When you want to know something, you tend to compare it with some other common things you have experienced in the past. Similarly, when you want to mention any comparison between different things or happenings, you use words of comparison which is figurative language. When something being described by comparing it with anything else, it known as figurative language (Grindon, 2009). Whereas, literal language is the one that describe the word as it is, that is, it is the actual definition.


Idioms are the expression or phrase which has some figurative meaning. Its meaning is little different from what the actual meaning of that word or phrase. The listener might make a mistake in understanding the idiom as it does not mean what is says.


A man of his words - it means that the person is trustworthy, and one can depend on him. Hands full - it means that the person is very busy, so he cannot do more work. Another example can be that when Peter asked his friend for money, he showed him a cold shoulder. Here, cold shoulder means that he refused to his request.


Analogy is used differently, as logicians use the meaning of analogy in the situation of arguments. The fictional use of analogy aims at clarification where something new made easier through a judgment with something familiar with which it has similarity and resemblance.


Science is built up with facts as a house built with stones. Here, science is compared with the construction of the house. This is an analogy which used in both the literary description and in argument. Even sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between a literary use and argumentative use.


Metaphor draws a verbal picture of comparison. It draws a fact by a verbal picture. Metaphor can either give a positive or a negative impression. It depends on how the metaphor is used. For instance, if someone smiles, it gives a positive impression.


My sister was boiling mad. Here, boiling mad is a metaphor which means that she was very angry. Another example can be it is going to be a clear sky now. Here, clear sky means that there is no threat now. In a very common sentence that is, life is a journey, here it means that life goes on, and a lot of ups and downs are a part of it.


To compare one object with another, similes used. Similes are the words such as “like” or “as”, etc. These words used to compare two objects. Simile is fundamentally a figure of speech requiring overt reference to source and target entities, and an explicit construction connecting them.


As sweet as sugar - it means that the person is very polite, humble and sweet. Here, the comparison of sweet with sugar is a ...
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