Figures of speech


Figure of speech is an expression of ideas. In this, word or phrase is used to express ideas in order to produce greater or dramatic effect and not literally.

  1. Simile

In simile, one thing is compared with another of different kinds having at least one common point. In this speech, some words as ‘like’, ‘as’ or ‘so’ are used. In this speech, there is a direct comparison.


  •   She sings like a nightingale.
  • The watchman is as watchful as a hawk.       
  • She is beautiful like you.
  • She looks like a fairy.
  • He wanders lonely as a bird.
  • The huge mountain stood like a question mark in front of us.

In this sentence, ‘mountain’ and ‘question mark’ are dissimilar things but they have a common quality of ‘standing’. It means ‘existing’. This is the speciality of Simile wherein there is a direct comparison with each other using the words ‘as’ or ‘like’.

2. Metaphor
In Metaphor, it is shown that two things are one and the same.

In this, there is no use of words such as ‘like’, ‘as’ etc. In this, the qualities of one object are explained to another object which is totally dissimilar to it.

An implicit comparison is called Metaphor.

  • She is a fairy in that city.
  • That field is an elephant’s head.
  • Camel is the ship of a desert.

Here, ‘camel’ and ‘ship’ are totally different things but then also here qualities of ship are attributed to camel.

Every metaphor can be expanded into simile and every simile can be compressed into metaphor.

  • Shivaji was a lion in that war. (Metaphor)
  • Shivaji fought like a lion. (Simile)


  1. Personification
    This is a special kind of Metaphor. In Personification, nonliving objects and ideas speak as they have intelligence and life and those are represented as a person with human qualities.


  • The room is silent.

4. Apostrophe

Apostrophe is a special form of personification addressing directly to personified idea, object, and dead or absent.

  • O liberty, how many criminals have born in your name!

5. Hyperbole

Hyperbole is a statement which emphatically or exaggeratedly stated. There is exaggeration.

  • She is as heighted as a palm tree.      
  • My grandfather is as old as mountain Himalay.

6. Euphemism
This consists in the description of a disagreeable thing by an agreeable name. That is, harsh words or harsh situation is told in soft words.


  • He kicked the bucket. ( He is dead.)
  • She has fallen asleep. ( She is dead)
  • You are telling me a fairy tale. (You are lying.)

7. Antithesis
In this figure of speech, two contradictory words or ideas are placed close to each other to highlight the contrast that is, two opposite ideas or words occur in the same sentence.


  • Their glory to decay.
  • To err is human, to forgive divine.
  • Many are called but few are chosen.
  • If you have the will to live and courage to die.
    Here, ‘live’ and ‘die’ is completely opposite to each other.

8. Oxymoron

This is a special form of antithesis. In this figure of speech, two contradictory qualities of same thing is stated at once in the same sentence.

  •  He accepted it as the kind cruelty of the surgical knife.
  • So innocent arch, so cunningly simple.

 9. Epigram
This is a proverb. It gives excited, surprising ideas antithetically and attract attention.


  • My son is my mother.                                                                                                                            
  •  The child is father of the man.                                                                                                              
  • Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.


  1. Irony
    In this speech, the real meaning is exactly opposite to that of literal.

  • One of the twins says other, “You are ugly!”
  • A boy died in his living room.
  • The thieves robbed the police station.

 11. Pun
In this, the word is used in such a way that it is capable to perform more functions. Pun is a play on words in which humorous effect is produced by using a word that suggests two meanings.

Examples-                                                                                                                                                   Is

  • life worth living? - It depends upon the liver.

In this sentence ‘liver’ is used for double meaning- physical organ ‘liver’ and the person who lives.

  • A horse is very stable animal.

In this sentence, stable is used for ‘its home’ and ‘not likely to move’.

12. Metonymy

In this, a word is used to represent a class or category of things.
Examples-                                                                                                                                                            The Bench  ( used to represent for the judges                                                                                     The House (used to represent for the members of the house of commons)                                 The Crown ( for the king)

 13. Synecdoche 

In this speech, a part is used to name the whole or whole to name the part.
A part used to name the whole-

  • All hands to the pumps.
    Here, ‘hands’ is used for ‘crew’
  •  He has many mouths to feed.                                                                                                               Here, ‘mouths’ means many people.
  1. Whole used to name a part-


  • India won cricket world cup.

Here, ‘India’ is used for Indian cricket team.


  1. Transferred Epithet

Epithet that is an adjective of proper word is transferred to another which is closely associated with it in the sentence.


  • I had a wonderful day!

In this sentence ‘day’ was not wonderful but the experiences I had which made me wonderful.


  1. Litotes

This is opposite of Hyperbole. In this speech, positive meaning is told by negative of the opposite word. Weaker means is used to express strongly.


  • I am not a fool. (I am very clever.)
  •  They did not a little surprise. (They surprised greatly.)


  1. Interrogation

This is also called as Rhetorical question because a question is asked only for the rhetorical effect.

Interrogation is to ask a question but not to get the answer but to put a point more effectively.


  • Who is here so vile that will not love his country?
  • Is she his maid?
  1. Exclamation

In this figure of speech, exclamatory form is used to draw more attention to the point.


  • What beautiful women were there!
  •  What a peaceful place it is!
  1. Climax

In this speech, ideas are arranged in the order of increasing importance.


  •  Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird.
  • Now we have reached a point of great decision, not just for our nation, not only for humanity, but for life upon the Earth.19. Anticlimax

This figure of speech is opposite of Climax. Here ideas are arranged in the order of decreasing importance. This is mostly used to show the satire or ridicule.


  • She lost her family, her bungalow and car.
  • She is a great artist, good mother and a humorist.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  1. Anticlimax

This figure of speech is opposite of Climax. Here ideas are arranged in the order of decreasing importance. This is mostly used to show the satire or ridicule.


  • She lost her family, her bungalow and car.
  • She is a great artist, good mother and a humorist.


20. Alliteration

In this speech, same letter or sound is used at the beginning of words that are next to or close to each other, that is beginning sounds of words are repeated.


  • Danny’s dog dove in the dam and drank dirty water.
  • Cory collected cola cans counting continuously.
  • The stuntman flipped from a forty foot Ferris wheel.
  • Grass grows greener in the graveyard.


  1. Repetition

In this speech, a word, a phrase or a sentence is repeated to give an effect to the expression.



  • Words, words, words
  • He felt that it was an end, an end of the world.
  • We shall enjoy the education, we shall enjoy the games.

Go over-