Figurative Language and Poetic Devices

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Poetic Devices
FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE: Language using figures of speech; it cannot be taken literally.
IMAGERY: The representation through language of sense experience; language that appeals to the senses - seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling.
FIGURE OF SPEECH: Any way of saying something other than in an ordinary way.

The following is a list of common figures of speech:

ALLUSION: A reference to something in history or literature. I.e. She had a Cinderella wedding.

ALLITERATION: The repetition of initial sounds. I.e. Seven steaks sizzled.

ASSONANCE: The repetition of vowel sounds. I.e. My words like silent raindrops fell.

CONSONANCE: The repetition of end consonant (every letter that is not a vowel) sounds. I.e. first and last, odds and ends, stroke of luck.

HYPERBOLE (OR OVERSTATEMENT) : An extreme exaggeration used for effect. I.e. I’ve told you a hundred times…; I’m starving; The suspense is killing me.

METAPHOR: An implied comparison between unlike things. I.e. He’s a house.

ONOMATOPOEIA: “Sound words”; Words whose sound suggests their meaning. I.e. buzz, click, snap, chop.

OXYMORON: The setting together, for effect, two words of opposite meaning. I.e. burning cold, screaming whisper.

PARADOX: An apparent contradiction, which is nevertheless somehow true.

PERSONIFICATION: Giving human characteristics to an animal, object, or idea. I.e. The hours crawled by like years.

SIMILE: A comparison between two unlike things using words such as: like, as, than, similar to, resembles, etc. I.e. Quiet as a mouse

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. It’s shape (a circle) is also symbolic; a circle never ends and therefore the love is not supposed to.

PUN: play on words.

UNDERSTATEMENT: Saying less than what is meant, for effect.

 

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