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English: Figures of Speech

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Figures of speech are powerful tools that add depth and creativity to language, making it more engaging and expressive. They can be found in literature, everyday conversation, and even in advertising. Here are 20 types of figures of speech to help you understand and use them effectively:

English: Figures of Speech

Simile:

Comparing two unlike things using "like" or "as." Example: She is as busy as a bee.


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Simile: Definition and Examples
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Metaphor:

Implies a direct comparison between two unrelated things. Example: The world is a stage.


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Metaphor: Definition and Examples
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Personification:

Giving human qualities to non-human objects or animals. Example: The wind whispered through the trees.


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Personification: Definition and Examples
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Hyperbole:

Exaggerating for emphasis or effect. Example: I've told you a million times.


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Hyperbole: Definition and Examples
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Onomatopoeia:

Words that imitate the sound they represent. Example: Buzz, hiss, boom.


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Onomatopoeia: Definition and Examples
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Alliteration:

The repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words in a sentence or phrase. Example: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.


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Alliteration: Definition and Examples
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Assonance:

Repetition of vowel sounds within words. Example: The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.


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Assonance: Definition and Examples
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Consonance:

Repetition of consonant sounds within or at the end of words. Example: He struck a streak of bad luck.


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Consonance: Definition and Examples
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Irony:

A statement where the intended meaning is opposite to the literal meaning. Example: The fire station burned down.


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Irony: Definition and Examples
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Oxymoron:

Combining two contradictory or opposite words. Example: Deafening silence, open secret, bittersweet.


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Oxymoron: Definition and Examples
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Euphemism:

Using a milder or more indirect word or phrase to replace a harsh one. Example: ''He passed away'' instead of ''He died''.


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Euphemism: Definition and Examples
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Cliché:

An overused expression or idea that has lost its impact. Example: A picture is worth a thousand words.


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Cliché: Definition and Examples
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Pun:

A play on words with multiple meanings or similar sounds. Example: Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.


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Pun: Definition and Examples
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Antithesis:

Juxtaposing two contrasting ideas in a balanced sentence. Example: To be or not to be, that is the question.


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Antithesis: Definition and Examples
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Metonymy:

Replacing the name of something with a related or associated term. Example: The White House issued a statement.


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Metonymy: Definition and Examples
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Synecdoche:

A part of something is used to represent the whole or vice versa. Example: All hands on deck.


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Synecdoche: Definition and Examples
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Litotes:

Understatement for effect, often expressing the opposite of what's said. Example: She's not a bad cook.


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Litotes: Definition and Examples
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Paradox:

A statement that appears self-contradictory or illogical but may reveal a deeper truth. Example: Less is more.


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Paradox: Definition and Examples
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Anaphora:

Repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive sentences or clauses.

Example: Charles Dickens in "A Tale of Two Cities":

  • "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,"

  • "we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—"

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Anaphora: Definition and Examples
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Chiasmus:

Reversing the order of words in parallel phrases. Example: Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.


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Chiasmus: Definition and Examples
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Figures of speech can add depth, vividness, and complexity to your writing and conversations. They make language more colourful and engaging, allowing you to convey ideas and emotions in creative ways. So, don't hesitate to incorporate them into your communication to make it more impactful.



Incorporate these figures of speech to transform your communication. Start with the ones you like, practice, and watch your language skills soar.

Are you interested in having an "online English conversation buddy" to support you in developing your English communication skills? Check out demitalks - your English conversation buddy service.

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