FIGURE OF SPEECH: Any way of saying something other than in an ordinary
way. "He takes abuse
like an old welterweight," or "You're not the brightest bulb in the
chandelier," and "That sleazy, slippery, slimy, so-and-so."
Or, "The new
clock on the dock is all the talk of those out for a walk in the town of
FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE: Language that uses 'figures of speech'. Using
colourful, unusual, less-ordinary ways of speaking
such as metaphor, simile, assonance, alliteration, puns, hyperbole etc.
IMAGERY: Language that "mirrors" the experiences we enjoy through our
senses. (The term mirrors is a figure of speech. Test your understanding by
choosing which one from the list of Poetic Terms
Poetic Devices: Specific Terms
SIMILE: A comparison between two unlike things, connected by words such as:
as, than, and less commonly similar to, or resembles.
Quiet as a mouse,
crazy like a fox
Crazy as a Loon.
Nuttier than a fruitcake
"He takes abuse
like an old welterweight."
Dumber than a post
You resemble 9 miles of bad road
You look similar to a dog's breakfast.
METAPHOR: An implied
comparison between unlike things.
I.e. Heís a dummy, but she's a
"You're not the brightest bulb in the chandelier,"
"The lights are on
but nobody's home."
"He's not the sharpest tool in the shed."
"He's a real clown."
"He's an idiot looking for a village."
ALLUSION: A reference to something
in history or literature. I.e.
She had a Cinderella wedding
He's having a
He's as decisive as Hamlet.
"He's had to endure the
trials of Job."
ALLITERATION: The repetition of initial sounds. I.e.
Lucy Lawless looks lovely lately
"That slippery, slimy, slack-jawed sleaze-ball!
CONSONANCE: The repetition of consonants
and/or consonant sounds
( letters NOT vowels, in words.)
i.e. first, last and
rends and bends, odds
pitter, patter, skitter, scatter
stroke of luck, truck in the muck is stuck
"The chalk outline on the sidewalk is all the talk of those out for a walk in the town of Falk."
ASSONANCE: The repetition of vowel sounds. I.e. My words like
silent raindrops fell,
I sigh, why
did I die, oh my.
"Hi guy how's the sty
in your eye?"
OOH, it's you, woo hoo, its true! (Long o sound)
PERSONIFICATION: Giving human characteristics
to an animal, object, or idea. I.e.
Time is moving like a slug on drugs.
The moose staggered drunkenly
The lone tree stood like a single soldier on guard in the
The dog stood sentry at the gate until John returned.
The stalled car barricaded the exit ramp
PARADOX: An apparent
contradiction, which is nevertheless somehow true,
as in a love-hate relationship or a youthful senior citizen.
ONOMATOPOEIA: ďSound wordsĒ;
Words whose sound suggests their meaning. I.e. buzz, click, snap, chop,
ding, bang, boom, boing, crack, pow, shwoosh, splat, schmack, slam, crash...
OXYMORON: The setting together, for effect, two
words of opposite meaning. I.e.
(In the more usual sense, two words which join opposites, often
like military intelligence, postal service, government
accountability, pretty ugly, unreasonably rational, jumbo shrimp,
OVERSTATEMENT (or hyperbole): An extreme exaggeration used for effect.
Iíve told you a million times not to exaggerate!
Iím starving to death!
The suspense is killing
I'll just die!
I hate that worse than nature hates a vacuum!
SYMBOL: Roughly defined as something that means more than what it is.
I.e. A wedding ring is a symbol of commitment, love, honor, etc. It is not
just a ring. Itís shape (a circle) is also symbolic; a circle never ends
and therefore the love is not supposed to. An eagle could be a symbol of
courage, independence, or freedom. The bull is often a symbol or power,
PUN: play on words. Caviar Emptor -
Beware of the fish! The original Latin expression is Caveat Emptor,
which means, "Let the Buyer Beware!" Puns rely on the similar sounds of two
different words or the different meanings of a word. When the meanings are switched,
it may produce a different, even humourous
meaning for the phrase.
Other Puns: Prisoners like the period best of all punctuation marks,
since it comes at the END of a sentence. If you write bad things about me,
I'm libel to sue you. Trust your calculator. It's something to
UNDERSTATEMENT: Saying much less than what is meant, for effect.
"Yes. 420 lbs. at 5 feet 2 inches does make you a bit overweight!"
or, "Yes, I think that there may be some small amount of steroid abuse in
the Pro bodybuilding world." Understatement may often be given a tone of