What is figurative language?

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Figurative language is a type of language that involves describing or comparing items with other things other than giving its literal meaning.  It can be composed of one word or a phrase that is given for the purpose of giving comparison or clarity about certain ideas or situations.  Figurative language may also be used to give a fresh twist to an otherwise simple sentence or give it emphasis for better appreciation by an intended audience like readers of a book for example.

Metaphors and similes are the most commonly used types of figurative language.  Not many people may not know the actual meaning of these types of figurative language, but many of them actually read about them in books or hear other people say something like it.  Metaphors are phrases or expressions that involve saying something like a fact based on comparison.  A metaphor is a type of language that states one thing and compares or likens it to another.  In the example “she is crying a river”, the subject here is likened to a person who seems to be crying a lot and with all the tears involved, it is describe or compared to that of a river. The phrase does not imply that the tears were too much and made into a river but rather it only put emphasis on how much the subject cried in this particular example.

Similes meanwhile are similar to metaphors in which people or situations are compared or likened to other things.  The only difference is that similes typically use words such as “like” or “as” in describing something.  In the example phrase “She is busy as a bee”, the subject is portrayed as something like a bee or is compared to the supposed habit of bees which is being busy all the time.  The subject in this case must be doing a lot of things in a given day and this explains why her activities are likened to that of a bee.

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