Christina M Kerschen
Figures of Speech - A Glance
A ‘Figure of Speech’ is a word or a phrase which gives a separate meaning from the normal one. It means something more than it seems to mean. It is used figuratively, to give an implied meaning to the given context. It can either be used to make comparisons, or even to insist repetition or exaggeration. Figures of speech provide a dramatic effect.
Alliteration is the repetition of the same consonant letters or similar sounds at the beginning words in a set or series of words,
“There is something special
about a fathers love”.
In the above lines, the alliterated words are : something, special.
A ‘Simile’ is a figure of speech, in which two unlike things are compared, using the words, ‘like’ or ‘as’.
It is used to bring a dramatic effect in Prose. Simile is one of the most common forms of a figure of speech and is also used in poems as well as our day-to-day talks.
as blind as a bat (means that someone is not willing to notice)
like peas in a pod (means that two people are quite similar)
as wise as an owl (refers to someone who is very smart / knowledgeable)
quiet like a mule (refers to someone who is silent / quiet)
as brave as a lion (refers to someone who is too brave/courageous)
A ‘Metaphor’ is quite similar to a ‘Simile’, as a ‘Metaphor’ also compares two unlike things. But a Metaphor has an implied or a hidden meaning between unrelated things.
Here, for a Metaphor, we do not use words such as ‘like’ or ‘as’. Unlike Similes which compare two things, Metaphors directly state a comparison to things that are in no way similar. We can use Metaphors to explain an idea, but its literal meaning should not be taken. It is only to be used as a symbolism.
My father was boiling mad. (implies that he was too angry)
She is the apple of my eye. (implies that she is too dear to me)
Your brain is a computer. (implies that your brain is smart and quick)
Her voice is music to his ears. (implies that her voice makes him feel happy)
The given task was a breeze. (implies that the task was not difficult)
Personification is a figure of speech in which a thing, an idea or an animal is given a human attribute. Human qualities are given to non-human things or ideas, for a better understanding the writer’s message.
The use of personification also helps to show a character’s attitude towards inanimate objects. This adds interest and fun to poems and stories. The literal meaning of the words should not be taken into consideration.
The Sun smiled down upon them.
Justice is blind.
The wind howled in the night.
The moon played hide and seek with the clouds.
The city never sleeps at night.
'The boat danced in the puddle.
The flowers nodded their heads
The thunder grumbled.
The lightning danced all over the sky.
The iron hands of Death.
The popcorn left out of the bowl.
Imagery is the way that a writer helps reader visualize or see in their minds what is being described. These images often suggest emotions. Images appeal to one or more of the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste or smell.
It was dark and cloudy in the woods.
'The boys were screaming and shouting in the playground.
The mountain was spewing and spitting the smoke.
'The sauce was sweet and sour.
Repetition is a literary device that repeats the same words of phrases a few times to make an idea clearer and more memorable. It is used to emphasize a feeling or idea, create rhythm, and bring attention to an idea.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep,
and miles to go before I sleep.
Hyperbole is a figure of speech that involves an exaggeration of ideas for the sake of emphasis. Here, the things are made appear greater than they usually are. It is a device that we employ in our day-to-day speech.
I have told you thousand times not to play games in the mobile!
Madurai is the town that never sleeps.
He walks as slow as a turtle.
8. Rhyming words
‘Rhyming words’ are two or more words which have the same sound. Words ‘rhyme’ if they have similar sounds when said aloud. ‘Rhyming words’ usually occur at the end of the lines in a poem. Rhyming words make poems or songs fun to sing.
Out came the bright Sunshine,
Down crept its light,
Into the seed, too bright.
In the above lines, the rhyming words are : light, bright.
9. Rhyme Scheme
A ‘Rhyme Scheme’ is a specific pattern used in a poem which determines which lines rhyme in the poem. Poets write poems with a rhyme scheme or a pattern. It is the arrangement of rhymes in a poem or a stanza.
Upon a nice mid-spring day, a
Let’s take a look at Nature’s way, a
Breathe the scent of nice, fresh hair, b
Feel the breeze within your hair. b
The grass will poke between your toes. c
Smell the flowers with your nose. c
Clouds form shapes within the skies. d
And light will glisten from your eyes. d
The rhyme scheme of this poem can be determined by the end word in each line.
The first line ends with the word ‘day’ and the second line ends with ‘way’. As both words rhyme with other, they are given the letter ‘a’.
The third line ends with the word ‘air’ and the fourth line ends with ‘hair’. These two words do not rhyme with the ending words of the first two lines. So, they are given the letter ‘b’ and so on.
We get a rhyme scheme aabb ccdd for this poem.