A figure of speech is the use of a word or a phrase that deviates from the literal meaning; however it can also be an arrangement of words or omission of a words pertaining to something literal. Simply, a figure of speech provides a supplementary idea, meaning, or feeling. There are countless types of figures of speech, yet, the most frequently used include metaphors, similes, and euphemisms.
The use of a figure of speech is extremely beneficial in writing to add some flavor. If your writing begins to fade into colorless monotony, you now have something to reignite your content. As a result of what figures of speech achieve, writers and readers alike are extremely fond of their use; we all find them a much more preferable alternative to factual writing.
Figures of speech induce emotion and although we would all love to say that we are logical, evidently, we are all driven by emotion. Attentive readers will read, understand, and respond to your content. Unfortunately not all readers are attentive, they are passive. Therefore, the use of a figure of speech is highly effective to transform these passive readers into attentive readers. Always ensure that you use these prudently as too many can interrupt the reader’s imagination that you’ve worked so hard to stimulate.
Now that you’re familiar with what is achieved by using a figure of speech, let Trafford Publishing explain a few in order to help improve your writing.
- Simile – A direct comparison between two things. Either of the words “like” or “as” is usually used to set up the comparison. Example: He fights like a tiger.
- Metaphor – Similar to a simile, a metaphor compares two things, the difference being that metaphor does not use the words “as” or “like” and the two comparable articles are highly unrelated, yet may share some common characteristics. Example: The assignment was a walk in the park. Although an assignment and a walk in the park are unrelated, they share the characteristic of being easy.
- Euphemism – This type of figure of speech is used to express an unclear or mild term to substitute for a frank, direct, or offensive term. They can be used to amuse, yet they are also used to convey a sense of positivity, whilst concealing something unpleasant. Example: he is becoming a little thin on top – meaning he is bald.
Due to the engagement and added elements of interest that a figure of speech provides, it is suffice to say that if you haven’t been using figures of speech, you should be! Keep in mind that too much of anything can be detrimental. Sensible use of these expressions is a must.
For more writing advice, make sure you check out the rest of Trafford Publishing Author’s Corner’s articles here.