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Figures Of Speech – Uses and Examples

Sep 16, 2022

Figures of Speech 

Figure of speech, a purposeful deviation from literal statement or common usage that emphasizes, clarifies, or embellishes both written and spoken language. Forming an integral part of language, figures of speech are found in oral literature as well as in polished poetry and prose and in everyday speech. 

Almost all of the figures of speech used in regular conversation can also be found in literature. However, in serious poetry and prose, their use is more fully conscious, more artistic, and much more subtle; as a result, it has a stronger intellectual and emotional impact, is more memorable, and sometimes contributes a range and depth of association and suggestion far beyond the scope of casual colloquial imagery use. 

Example of figures of speech 

Metaphor: It is raining cats and dogs 

Simile: He is as brave as a lion 

Alliteration: She sells seashells on the seashore  


Onomatopoeia: The buzzing bee flew over my head  

Commonly used Figures of Speech 


Irony occurs when there’s an obvious difference between what is said and what is implied, or between appearance and reality. 

For example: 

  • “How nice!” he said when I told him I had to work all weekend. (Verbal irony) 
  • A traffic cop gets suspended for not paying for his parking tickets. (Situational irony) 
  • The Titanic was said to be unsinkable, but it sank on its first voyage. (Situational irony) 


Personification is a sort of figurative language in which the words are not meant to be taken literally or precisely.  

Consider the following example. “That pizza is calling my name,” says the pizza, who cannot speak. Personification is demonstrated by the phrase “calling my name.” The pizza, a nonhuman entity, is being endowed with a human quality, the ability to converse. This is what it means to be personified.  



  • Sun glared angrily upon the desert.   
  • The skyscraper was so tall that it kissed the sky.  
  • The moon is smiling at us.  
  • The tree was begging for water.  


Onomatopoeia is the figure of speech that imitates the sound of the described object or action.  

It sounds like what it describes (it helps the readers to hear the sound of the words that they are thinking of).  


  • I could hear the buzzing of bees, there must be a hive nearby.   
  • The dog sniffed; he could smell meat.  
  • The loud boom of the explosion startled everyone. 


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