Figures of Speech
- Irony: This figure of speech tries to use a word in a literal sense that debunks what has just been said. It is highly confusing and at the same time extremely enthralling. In other words, Irony means using words where the meaning is the opposite of their usual meaning.
"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" from Dr. Strangelove is a great example. Another example of irony is "A man who is a traffic cop gets his license suspended for unpaid parking tickets". It is often used to poke fun at a situation that everyone else sees as a very serious matter.
- Metaphor: A metaphor is a way of describing something by equating it with something else. It compares two things that are not alike and finds something about them to make them alike.
For example, in the metaphor, "Freddie is a pig when he eats," both Freddie and a pig are sloppy eaters. My heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill" from a book by William Sharp is a good example of metaphor.
- Simile: In this figure of speech, two things are compared that are not really the same, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid (e.g. as brave as a lion).The difference between simile and metaphor is that you can obviously see words "like" in the sentence.
For example, As slippery as an eel, Like peas in a pod, Eats like a pig, As wise as an owl, As blind as a bat.
- Personification: Personification is when you assign the qualities of a person to something that isn't human or, in some cases, to something that isn't even alive. It can be used as a method of describing something so that others can understand. It can be used to emphasize a point.
This is a way of giving an inanimate object the qualities of a living thing. "The tree quaked with fear as the wind approached" is an example; "The sun smiled down on her" is another. This can sometimes be used to invoke an emotional response to something by making it more personable, friendly and relatable.
- Hyperbole: This figure of speech makes things seem much bigger than they really were by using grandiose depictions of everyday things. Hyperbole is often seen as an exaggeration that adds a bit of humor to a story.
For example: "It was as big as a mountain! It was faster than a cheetah! It was dumber than a rock!" My grandmother is as old as the hills.
I am trying to solve a million issues these days.
- Paradox: Paradoxes completely contradicts itself in the same sentence. One of the famous quotes from George Orwell's "1984" that illustrate this include: "War is peace. Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery." Though it's obvious that these things are not true, they present an interesting paradox that makes a person think seriously about what they have just read or heard.
- Oxymoron: This puts two words together that seem to contradict each other. They are mainly used to promote the humor in a situation. "Military intelligence," "real phony," "happily married," "civil war," "silent yell" are some of the examples of oxymoron.
Vocabulary Preparation Series