Figure of Speech - Importance, Types with Example

November 23, 2023
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Are you looking to expand your vocabulary and become a more eloquent communicator? Delving into the world of figures of speech is the perfect way to achieve that goal.

This comprehensive guide will explore the question: “What is the importance of figure of speech and how they can elevate your language skills?”. From understanding the different types of figure of speech and their meaning to analyzing, this comprehensive guide will explore the question: “What is the importance of figure of speech and how can they their examples, we will equip you with the knowledge to effectively employ these linguistic devices in your everyday conversations, speeches, and writing.

Whether you’re fascinated by the captivating anaphora figure of speech or enjoy the clever wordplay of lets say, pun figure of speech, this guide will provide you with valuable insights into the significance and application of figures of speech.

What Do You Mean by Figure of Speech?

A term with an implicit meaning that shouldn’t be taken at face value is known as a figure of speech. This indicates that a phrase’s literal meaning is not its true meaning.

Since the majority of types of figure of speech are frequently employed in everyday discourse, native English speakers are highly familiar with them. However, if one doesn’t speak English as their first language, and is unfamiliar with the importance of figures of speech and their meaning, then this is the perfect place!

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines ‘Figures of Speech’ as “a word or phrase used differently from its usual meaning to create a particular mental picture or effect.” Traditionally, these devices have been known to people as poetic devices to analyse the poem.

The figures of speech examples in English would thus be a way of describing more in English but without literally saying it out loud. Thus, using figures of speech with examples, one can speak highly significant phrases and add liveliness, and beauty to speech. One may call them the “ornaments of speech.” 

Some of the examples would be simile figure of speech, or metaphors, images, symbols, and personification which will be discussed in the article.  

Importance of Figure of Speech

figures of speech used by Shakespeare

One might have come across these readings. But has one wondered which figures of speech have been used by Shakespeare? Let’s dig deeper to understand the importance of several types of speeches with examples:

  1. Figures of speech within a written text can be used in English speaking to explain something in a more artistic sense.
  2. It can be in a more beautiful way or even rhetoric or witty!
  3. They are usually used to compare something, be it a living or non-living object, feeling, etc., which gives advice or creates a less literal description of the examples above.  
  4. They are used to describe a feeling in a nonliteral way with full attention to the phrase or a particular word which is the figure of speech.
  5. They provide freshness of expression and clarity of meaning. They also increase our vocabulary skills.  
  6. The figures of speech with examples enhance the beauty of the writing by giving it a broader meaning while also increasing the reader’s creativity, thereby resonating with the witty or subtle meanings that the writer indicates. It shows the writer’s thoughts and the translator’s mastery of the language.

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Types of Figure of Speech with Examples 

Here are the different types of speeches with examples:

1. Personification

This figure of speech represents a noun or abstraction as a human form. It creates a language that helps readers feel more connected to the story or makes passages more memorable.

For example – “The moon methinks looks with a watery eye; And when she weeps, weeps every little flower, Lamenting some enforced chastity.” “The ocean roared.”

2. Metaphor

This figure of speech compares two things without using “like” or “as,” conveying a deeper meaning.  

For example, “He is a lion.” “The eyes are the window to the soul.”

3. Simile

Simile figure of speech compares two things using “like” or “as,” explicitly stating the comparison.  

For example, “She shone as bright as the sun.” “She is like a fairy.”

4. Alliteration

Alliteration uses repeated letter sounds to create emphasis and rhythm.

For example, “The high horse hopped along the highway.” “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

5. Hyperbole

This figure of speech involves deliberate exaggeration to convey a deeper meaning or emphasize a point.

For example, “I have a thousand things to do this morning.” “These books weigh a ton.”

6. Onomatopoeia

This figure of speech uses words that imitate the sound they describe, adding sensory effects to the text. 

For example, “The car alarm went beep.” “I can hear the buzzing of the bees.”

7. Euphemism

Euphemism uses agreeable and favorable terms to express something unpleasant or sensitive. 

For example, “He is telling us things as though they were a fairy tale!” (a lie) “And now, the Queen has embraced eternal sleep.” (death)

8. Irony

Irony is a figure of speech that conveys the opposite of what is meant, often used to share a feeling or emotion.

For example, “I love it when I drop my phone, how wonderful.” 

9. Anaphora

Anaphora figure of speech is the repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of sentences or paragraphs, emphasizing a point.  

For example, “Unfortunately, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time on the wrong day.” “You are not getting well, now, are you?” 

10. Apostrophe

Apostrophe is a figure of speech that directly addresses an inanimate thing or an absent person as if they were present.  

For example, “The woman loved her cat like her own child.” “My poor car has broken down!” 

11. Pun

Pun figure of speech is a witty play on words, often involving multiple meanings or homophones.  

For example, here are pun figure of speech examples sentences: “A boiled egg for breakfast is hard to beat.” “I’ve been to the dentist many times, so I know the drill.”  

12. Paradox

Paradox is a statement that seems contradictory but reveals a deeper meaning upon reflection. It engages the reader to discover underlying meanings in conflicting statements.  

For example, “Pen is mightier than the sword.” “Change is the only constant.” 

13. Oxymoron

Oxymoron uses contradictory words to create a positive or intensified meaning.  

For example, “The is pretty ugly.” “You look awfully pretty in that dress.” 

14. Metonymy

Metonymy substitutes a word or phrase for another closely associated with it, often used to refer to a concept or object indirectly.  

For example, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Here, “pen” refers to writing and “sword” refers to military power. 

15. Assonance

Assonance refers to the repetition of vowel sounds in nearby words, creating an auditory effect.  

For example, “A rolling stone gathers no moss.” “Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.” 

16. Understatement

Understatement is a figure of speech that deliberately makes a situation seem less important than it is, often for ironic or humorous effect.  

For example, “It’s not that big of a deal; I only have to undergo a small open-heart surgery.” “It’s okay not to feel very overwhelmed now that your dog has died.” 

Understanding the importance of figures of speech can help you greatly in terms of your vocabulary. 

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Lesser-known Figures of Speech

The Figures Of Speech Class 10 syllabus also has the following lesser-known figures of speech:

1. Synecdoche  

This figure of speech uses a part to represent the whole or the whole to represent a part.  

For example, “I have the Viceroy, love the man.” and “All hands at work.” “Today, I am posting on Facebook about how useless Facebook is.” 

2. Epigram

Epigram is a short saying that often uses words with contradictory meanings. It is known for its clarity, brevity, and wit, conveying interesting ideas about life situations, people, emotions, or ideas.  

Examples include “The child is the father of the man” (Wordsworth) and “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” 

3. Litotes

Litotes is a figure of speech that uses understatement or negation to express the opposite idea. It is commonly used in novels, plays, and poems.  

For example, “Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks. Within his bending sickle’s compass come” (Shakespeare). 

4. Circumlocution

Circumlocution involves expressing facts or desires indirectly and repetitively instead of stating them directly. It can include sarcastic and uncertain descriptions, often used when the writer is not clear enough or wants to avoid offensive language.  

Examples include “The viewless couriers of the air” and “That statement of his was purely an effort of imagination.” 

5. Pleonasm

Pleonasm or tautology refers to repeating the same fact or idea using different words. It can be used to emphasize a point or as a rhetorical device. Pleonasm is commonly used in poems and prose.  

Examples include “It is the privilege and birthright of every man to own fundamental rights as a citizen” and “I ate a tuna fish sandwich.”

How to Write a Figure of Speech

If you want to add more impact and intrigue to your writing, mastering the art of important figure of speech is essential. Figures of speech are powerful rhetorical devices that allow you to express your thoughts and feelings in unique and captivating ways. In simpler terms, they are tools that give your words an extra dose of colour and allure, attracting and engaging readers or listeners.

The term “figure” can be likened to a drawing or picture. When using figurative language, you paint vivid mental images for your audience, conveying information more swiftly and intensely than plain words alone. This adds depth and meaning to your text, leaving readers wondering and amplifying the vitality of your message. Figures of speech not only reveal your intention as a writer but also explain the deliberate word choices you make, infusing your text with flavor and greatly enhancing the reader’s enjoyment. 

Figurative language, including figures of speech, is widely employed in everyday conversations, popular music, television ads, and timeless literary works such as those by Shakespeare and the Bible. By embracing figurative language, readers and listeners are compelled to unleash their imagination and grasp a deeper understanding beyond the literal interpretation. 

It is crucial to distinguish between literal and metaphorical language. While literal expressions convey exactly what they say, figurative language goes beyond the surface and often holds a deeper meaning. For instance, saying “He moved quickly while running” is a literal expression, but saying “He took off running” is a figure of speech, specifically a simile, comparing his speed to that of the wind.

Also, read: Mastering the Art of Public Speaking Skills

Learning Figure of Speech in English Vocabulary

Understanding figure of speech and their meaning is essential to unlock the richness of the English language. Figures of speech are words or phrases that go beyond their literal definitions, often employing techniques like similes, metaphors, alliteration, and hyperbole to create powerful comparisons and leave a lasting impression. These literary devices are abundant in English and play a vital role in poetry, literature, speeches, and even movie dialogues. In fact, figures of speech permeate almost every aspect of our lives. 

Maintaining a high level of interest and concentration while studying English grammar is crucial. This not only helps you identify and differentiate between different types of figure of speech with ease but also boosts your confidence in using them effectively. 

Explore more about Chegg’s Life Skills for success. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a figure of speech?

A figure of speech is a literary device that is used to create an atmosphere or to emphasize a point in a story. For instance, “as the saying goes” is a common figure of speech that means something like “in other words.” It can also be used to introduce an explanation for what you said.

What are the different figures of speech in English?

There are four basic figures of speech:

1. Metaphor
2. Simile
3. Hyperbole
4. Alliteration

What are Figure of Speech Examples?

Figure of speech examples are a great way to learn how to use figurative language. They can help one understand how words can be used in different ways, and they allow one to practice them.

While reading something, it’s easy to look at the words one by one as one reads. But if one doesn’t have a good idea of what they mean or how they’re used, it’s harder to understand.

Is Figure of Speech necessary for English?

Yes, it is. The figure of speech is used to make the language exciting and fun to read. The figures of speech are very useful in writing, as they help one to improve vocabulary understanding, which is one of the most important skills in English.

The figure of speech can be used in writing any kind of text, speaking, or reading, either for business or for pleasure. It is one of the most common elements that exist in the English language.

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