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Figurative Language versus Literal Language - Term Paper Example

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Figurative Language versus Literal Language

Even if it does not take for one to acquire a poetic nature to get along, comprehension and skills with figurative speech and writing must be examined from time to time to ensure quality and proper or correct usage besides the anticipated end with creativity. Idiom is a figurative language that refers to an expression consisting of words which are not supposed to be understood in their literal sense, rather by the meaning through the context in which the idiomatic terms are placed. American language is rich in idiomatic expressions that are often used as alternatives to common words or phrases in regular conversations. They also serve to deliver a certain message with effect or a sense of necessary mood that sometimes goes with the speaker’s tone and manner of delivery. For example, when using the idiomatic phrase ‘All Greek to me’, one means either he does not understand the subject being dealt with or he is not at all familiar with it, as in ‘We were talking about fishing, but they got on to marine biology and it was all Greek to me.’ As another type of figurative language, analogy pertains to correspondence in some respects between otherwise unlike objects. It is equivalently a logical inference based on the assumption that if two things are known to be alike in some respects, then they must be alike in other respects as well. The chief function of analogy has been applied in reasoning whenever need arise to state parallel cases in order that the essence of their point of similarity is drawn. For instance, ‘Citizens are to president as solar system is to galaxy’ or ‘Purple is to grapes as red is to cherries (Analogy Examples).’ Being one of the popular figures of speech widely used in daily interactions, metaphor is made by transferring a term from the object it originally designates to another object it may designate only by implicit comparison. Metaphor typically assumes the role of symbolizing or representing something with a similar characteristic derived from another in direct association. ‘Her eyes were darting searchlights, scanning the room for her rival’ or ‘Joe was a stainless steel ruler – tall, straight, and always measured in response’ are metaphors designating searchlights for eyes and a ruler for a person (Metaphor Examples). Though notable similarities with simile are observed, metaphor ought not to be confused with the indication of ‘as’ or ‘like’. That is to imply that while metaphor is an equation, simile is an approximation (Difference). Simile, like metaphor, is also a figure of speech with extensive use in everyday language. It states one thing is like or resembles another thing in mere comparison that lacks some directness or boldness due to the inclusion of ‘as’ or ‘like’. ‘Your skin is as velvety as a petal of a rose is one such example of a simile. A hackneyed expression or idea in figurative language is known as cliche. Despite loss in its effectiveness due to excessive use through time within innumerable repetitive circumstances, cliche is still useful when the speaker decides to bring across a message that requires abrupt attention and understanding. ‘What goes around comes around’ has become one of the famous cliches that serves as a way to be reminded by a value of ‘karma’ or of the ‘Golden Rule’. Amphiboly, on the other hand, refers to an ambiguous grammatical discourse where an expression may appear to possess more than one definition yet none of the supposed meanings may be determined as applicable within their constructions. Unless a phrase or sentence is embedded on a context that bears sufficient clue to the object meaning being referenced, it stays in ambiguity. The ...Show more


While many still adhere to understanding that figurative language is mostly confined within academic bounds, there are those enthusiasts and ordinary people who have explored and found a great deal of advantage in adopting figurative manner of expressing one’s thoughts…
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Figurative Language versus Literal Language essay example
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