Food can only be made sweet through the use of spices, while speech and conversations are spiced up through the use of different types of figure of speech. These are useful in giving detailed explanations of concepts or in the provision of emphasis while passing a given point. Motivational and yet ironic phrases such as "break a leg” are commonly used in theatres as a way of wishing a performer good luck. Nowadays, people are less fond of using figurative speech in their daily conversations. Despite the general lack of popularity, some figures of speech are still used as metaphors, alliterations, euphemisms, as Onomatopoeia, and as irony.
Figures of speech refer to words or phrases that are used to give a deeper meaning than its literal sense. Some of these phrases can be used to pass an indirect message through the use of more polite or soft words, while others, such as alliteration, are used to emphasize a point. Examples of figures of speech can be found in everyday speech and literary pieces. It is rarely used in non-fiction work such as academic reports, but it can be used in oral communication and creative writing. For instance, in literary writing, you can use hyperbole or exaggeration to paint a character in a better way or to add humor to the story.
Figurative language can be used in different ways, depending on the needs at that particular point. If they are overused, such as in a case where you use 8 types of the figure of speech in one paragraph, you might make it hard for the reader to understand them all. They should enhance clarity, put emphasis and make the expression easier, which means they should be used most appropriately to avoid ambiguity. Some examples of figures of speech are discussed below, and a full description is given for each to ensure that you fully understand their appropriate use in a natural way.
A hyperbole is a figure of speech used to express extreme exaggeration, and its examples are evident in our daily statements and conversations. Hyperboles bring life into a statement or make it more comical through their use. For instance, instead of telling someone that you have asked them to stop doing something many times, you can say instead "I have told you to stop doing that a million times!"
This is the use of sharp expressions or remarks while communicating with someone else or while delivering a speech. It can be used to offend someone, but in some other cases, it is used for comical purposes. To tell someone that they are foolish, you use sarcasm in the form of the sentence "brains are not everything, but in your case they are nothing!”
Personification is assigning human characteristics or attributes to something that is not human. It is the representation of abstract objects as a human in life. An example of personification is the use of the phrase "the sun smiled sending darkness away.”
Trope refers to the use of a word or an expression figuratively or metaphorically in writing or when delivering a speech. This literary form is commonly used to bring out some nonliteral sense by creating compelling images that help people understand better.
A metaphor is a phrase used in the description of an object, an idea, or a person by associating it with something else with similar characteristics. In the use of a metaphor, a courageous person can be described as to possess a "heart of a lion.” A metaphor is expressed by directly likening one thing to the other without the use of words such as "like” and "as.” Another example of a metaphor is "Mary is a snail” which can be used to associate Mary's slowness to that of a snail. The reason why a snail is used to show slowness is the fact that they are notoriously known for being slow in their motion. In this case, Mary is not a snail, but her way of walking is associated with that of the ever slow snail. In another example, we can say that casual worker bees buzz in the companies. It's a form of a trope in the form of a metaphor because workers can never be bees, but it suggests how fast they move while working in the company.
A simile refers to a figure of speech that uses the comparison to show the similarity between two different things. Simile can be found in our everyday conversations. We often hear comments such as "Mary is as slow as a snail.” Well, as described earlier, everyone knows that snails are very slow and therefore their motion is compared to that of snails. A simile draws resemblance between two objects through the use of helping words such as "like” and "as.” In the example, Mary's speed is likened to that of the snail through the use of comparative terms.
Metonymy refers to a trope whereby a phrase is substituted for another if they can be closely associated. Proximity and association of two different things is the primary factor used in replacing one object for the other. For instance, the phrase "a red-letter day” is used to signify a day that is worth remembering, pleasant and noteworthy. The phrase "red letter day” is used to show that the day is worthwhile just like the days that are marked in red in the calendar. Another example of metonymy is the use of the phrase "decisions of the white house” referring to the actions of the president of the United States.
There is only a small difference between metaphors, similes, and metonymy because of all three associate one object to the other. A simile makes a comparison of two objects through the use of helping words and can, therefore, be termed as a direct comparison. On the other side, metaphors directly liken one thing to the other which means that it uses implied comparison. A metonymy differs from metaphors and similes by the fact that it uses the associative comparison between two things or objects which are nearby.
Just as food needs spices to taste better, speech, among other literary pieces, requires the use of figures of speech to feel more attractive and to pass points in a better way. The right choice of figurative forms of expression is useful in ensuring that the right message is passed and that the audience of your speech or the readers of your work is well entertained and attentive.