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Figures of Speech: Personification, Hyperbole, and Irony Explored

Class 4
Jun 15, 2023

Figures of Speech

  1. figure of speech is a word or phrase with a separate meaning from its literal definition, i.e., the purpose is not direct/plain.
  2. It can be a metaphor or simile to make a comparison.
  3. It is used to provide a dramatic effect.
  4. There are different types of figures of speech.
  5. Let’s explore three of them.


  1. Personification means representing a non-human thing as if it were human.
  2. Personification often uses a metaphor to give human traits and qualities, such as emotions, desires, sensations, gestures, and speech.
  3. Personification is when a speaker gives an object or idea -human characteristics, abilities, or qualities.

Example: The frost paints the pines in the wintertime.

  1. In this example, the writer gives Frost the ability to paint.

Frost can’t paint. People paint.

  • Personification (using sight): The car ran a marathon down the highway.
  • Personification (using sound): The car coughed, hacked, and spluttered.
  • Personification (using touch): The car was smooth as a baby’s skin.
  • Personification (using taste): The car tasted the bitter asphalt.
  • Personification (using smell): The car needed a cold shower.
  • Personification (using mental events): The car remembered its first owner fondly.


Hyperbole is a technique where exaggeration is used to create a strong effect.

The word hyperbole is composed of two root words:

Hyper, which means “over,” and bole, which means “to throw.”


Examples of hyperbole:

  1. I’ve been waiting a billion years for this.
  2. I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.
  3. I feel like a million bucks.
  4. You are the king of the kitchen.


Irony is a figure of speech and one of the most widely known literary devices used to express a strong emotion or raise a point.

For example:

A driver whose license was confiscated by a traffic officer may say,

Thank you, officer; now that you have my license, I can’t drive.”


Types of Irony

  1. Verbal
  2. Situational
  3. Dramatic
Verbal Irony

A character says one thing but means the opposite.


After looking at a student’s poor test score, the teacher says,

You will surely finish the year with the highest honors.”

A man tastes his wife’s delicious home-cooked meal and exclaims,

“I shall never eat this food ever again.”

Situational Irony

Situational irony happens when what is expected and intended doesn’t occur. Instead, the exact opposite occurs. The result could be either severe or comic.


A man whose house was in the woods put a booby trap to protect him from wild animals. One night, while walking, the man didn’t see the tarp and injured himself.

Dramatic Irony

Dramatic Irony happens when the audience or readers are aware of something which the character of a movie or story does not know.


In a horror movie, the character enters a dark room while hearing a woman’s voice. The audience doesn’t get scared because they knew beforehand that the woman’s voice was just that of the character’s mother.

Figures of Speech


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