Figurative Language

Poetic Tips
Figurative language.

Using figurative language is an effective way of communicating an idea that is not easily understood because of its abstract nature or complexity. We use figurative language all the time in every day speech to illustrate ideas. Although figurative language does not offer a literal explanation, it can be used to compare one idea to a second idea to make the first idea easier to visualise. Figurative language also is used to link two ideas with the goal of influencing an audience to see a connection even if one does not actually exist. .
Figurative language is used very successfully in advertising. Research analysts in advertising have discovered that advertisers who use figurative language produce more successful campaigns than those who don’t. Can you think of adverts that use figurative language? Ride like the wind….simile.
Figurative language is not about using high level diction it is often better used with simple language.
Writers of prose and poetry use figurative language to elicit emotion, to help readers form mental images and draw readers into the work these are the devices that give imagery and pull the reader into the heart of a poets message.
An abstract emotion, such as love, cannot be clearly defined and is difficult to describe to someone who has not experienced it. Figurative language can be used, however, to explain abstract emotions such as love, grief, envy and happiness. The statement, “Love is blind,” made famous by Shakespeare, is figurative language that employs personification in the form of a metaphor. The phrase tells the reader or listener that love has eyes but is incapable of using them to see. The phrase suggests that a person’s love for another causes them to overlook faults and discount physical appearance.

How might we employ figurative language:
The simile – Her voice is like treacle – x is like y
The metaphor – Love is blind – x is y
Personification – The wind sang – animate qualities to inanimate things.
Idiom – A metaphor that has become commonplace language – jumping the gun
Periphrasis – uses a descriptive phrase in place of a simple noun.
“the heavy blanket of winter,” which substitutes “heavy blanket” for snow.
Symbolism occurs when a word has its own meaning but is used to represent something entirely different.-Incorporating a red rose in your writing to symbolize love.

Figurative Language is a vital part of your repertoire.

Samantha Beardon

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