Figurative language is a relative term used to define the form of writing that is typically considered ornamental. It is essentially used to turn bland, ordinary writing style into a more vibrant and expressive form of communication. Figurative language tends to portray a higher degree of more explicit, vivid, and clearer communicative cues. It makes the readers visualise the descriptions more efficiently and accurately. Moreover, it makes your writing more compelling, enticing, enthralling, exciting and engaging for the reader. As a result, readers gain a deeper understanding of the discussed subject. Figures of speech are a valid example of figurative writing techniques. In the following article, our experts have organised the details that you need to know about figurative language and its relative importance in academic writing.
It’s important to keep in mind that figurative languages aren’t meant to be interpreted literally. Instead, they’re usually used as rhetorical tactics to make a strong point or elicit a response from the reader. Consider the following illustration. To get what he wanted, he had to move mountains. The preceding line implies that the subject made significant efforts to achieve his goals; it is self-evident that no human being can move a mountain! While not historically accurate, figurative languages can aid in the comprehension of facts by vividly portraying or conveying something that is impossible to achieve using literal language.
Let’s take a deeper look at the various characteristics of figurative language, beginning with a direct comparison to its counterpart.
Figurative Language and Literal Language
Figures of speech is a far more common word for the figurative language used in other types of content, such as stories, poems, and articles in journals. Metaphor is an example of a figure of speech that you should be aware of. Symbolic and metaphorical phrases and expressions are typically flowery and regarded as whimsical and insignificant; nonetheless, figurative language has been employed as conceptual metaphors to highlight or represent deeper meanings on several occasions.
As a result, figurative languages reflect a deeper meaning or notion to the reader, but literal languages do not generally express any deep underlying representations. As a result, a reader may need to pause and consider the inherent duality of figures of speech to have a better comprehension, eventually combining both literal and figurative meaning.
Now that the basic definitions have been explained and the difference between the two is fairly visible, we shall look at the various types and applications of figurative speech.
Types and their Use
Namely, there are seven different types of figures of speech. However, they can be classified into different groups. The following is the description of these types.
Comparison: Simile, Metaphor, Personification
Substitution: Metonymy, Synecdoche
Exaggeration: Hyperbole, Litotes
A SIMILE is an indirect comparison between two separate entities that use the words like or as or any other term that is similar. For example, X is similar to Y.
METAPHOR: Making direct analogies between two different objects, explicitly or implicitly, is what metaphors are all about. For example, X equals Y.
PERSONIFICATION: Personifications are comparisons of non-human entities to humans. They give a non-human a human attribute or characteristic. Personification is linked to apostrophe and reification figures. For example, the moon appeared to be a sorrowful face in the sky, regretting what may have been.
METONYMY: Metonymy is the replacement of a term with another that is closely related. For example, only the White House has the authority to authorise such an extreme mission.
Parts for the whole, the whole for the part, individuals for the class, and so on are all examples of SYNECDOCHE. For example, 500,000 swords bled the entire city dry and handed the young empire a crushing blow.
A hyperbole is an exaggeration of a literal term.
LITOTES: A litotes is a literal understatement that is the polar opposite of hyperbole.