Figurative language and other literary devices

Name: ______________________________________
Reading: Figurative Language/literary devices
Tip 1: Writes compare things using similes and
A write has many ways to paint pictures with words.
They will often use figurative language. Figurative
language is when a write describes something by
comparing it to something else.
Similes compare two things by using the words like or as.
1. Johnny is growing like a weed.
2. Jessie runs as fast as a cheetah.
3. Mr. Pack looks like a giant.
4. Mashaya got a 100% on her test. She felt like a
rock star!
Metaphors compare two things by describing one in
terms of another. When authors use metaphors, they
don’t say one thing is like another, they say one this is
1. Diamonds twinkled in the night sky. (Stars are
being compared to diamonds.)
2. The stars are diamonds twinkling in the night sky.
3. Mr. Pack is a giant.
4. Jessie is a cheetah.
5. Mashaya got a 100% on her test. She was a rock
Tip 2: Writers can make nonhuman
objects/animals/things seem human.
Personification: gives human qualities to an
animal or object. It makes a non-human look or
behave a person. An animal in a cartoon would
also be an example of personification.
Movies with personification:
 Cars
 Finding Nemo
 Beauty and the Beast
 Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Toy Story 3
 Lion King
Other examples of personification:
1. Mrs. Caudill screamed as the copy machine ate
page after page. (A copy machine can’t eat
2. The moon looked down on the quiet countryside.
(The moon doesn’t have eyes to look.)
3. The breeze whispered for me to stay outside
longer. (The breeze can’t whisper.)
4. The angry sun glared down on my unprotected
skin. (The sun cannot feel emotion such as
Tip 3: Writers use words that excite the senses. This is
called imagery.
Sensory words describe something we can taste,
feel/touch, hear, smell, or see. Authors use sensory
words to create images that we can sense. In other words,
imagery is a clear description that relates to our senses.
 Taste: The ocean spray was salty as teardrop.
 Touch: Jason tensed as the cold snake slithered
across his bare feet.
 Hearing: The old truck coughed and wheezed
its way up the hill.
 Smell: The freshly washed laundry smelled of
rose petals.
 Sight: The diamond sparked like sunlight on the
Tip 4: Writers call attention to ideas with exaggeration
(hyperbole.) Writers sometimes use exaggeration to call
attention to meaning. To exaggerate means to make
something sound like it’s larger than it actually is. A
writer may be trying to make a point or simply trying to
get a laugh. Hyperbole is another word for
1. My grandmother is so old that she remembers when
dinosaurs roamed the earth.
2. I have watched that movie a thousand times.
3. I have gained so much weight that I am going to have
to use the equator as a belt.
4. When I was little, my mom washed my face so hard
that she washed the nose right off of my face.
Tip 5: Some figurative language used sound to make
impression on the reader. In poetry, alliteration occurs
when the write uses words that the same beginning
consonant sound. Alliteration can call attention to a
phrase or image. The words do not have to be right next
to each other.
Examples of Alliteration
Here are some examples:
Come and clean your closet.
The big bad bear attacked all the little bunnies in the
Please put your pen away and play the piano.
Round and round she ran until she realized she was
running round and round.
I had to hurry home because grandma wanted her
Busy as a bee
Hungry as a hippo
Alliteration Tongue Twisters
Here are examples:
She sells sea shells by the sea shore.
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Alliteration in Names
Here are examples of alliteration in brand names,
characters, and people
Chuckee Cheese’s
Dunkin’ Donuts
Krispy Kreme
Mickey Mouse/Minnie Mouse
Bugs Bunny
Porky Pig
Fred Flintstone
Donald Duck/Daisy Duck
Spongebob Squarepants
Seattle Seahawks
Ronald Reagan
Amber Anderson
Tip 6: Idioms:
An idiom is a common figurative phrase. The words of
idiom mean something entirely different from what they
seem to mean.
Examples of idioms:
Jo Anna is on the fence about going to Eastern
Kentucky University or Morehead State University.
This phrase does NOT mean she is on a fence. It
means she has not made up her mind. The expression
“on the fence” is an idiom meaning “undecided.”
When Jill left, she broke Jack’s heart. (Jill did not
physically break Jack’s heart. Instead, when Jill left,
Jack felt very sad and lonely.
I thought the Indian project was a piece of cake!
(The actual meaning of this phrase is easy or as
enjoyable as eating a piece of cake.)
When I took this job, I bit off more than I could
chew. (The phrase “Bit off more than I could chew”
means taking on more work than I could handle.)
Figurative language and other literary devices are
commonly found in stories and poems. Poems have
special text features. Text features are tools that writers
use to make writing easier to read and understand. One
text feature that poets use is called a line/verse. A
line/verse is ONE row of written words in a poem. A
stanza is one or more lines set off by a space.
Rhyme: uses words that have the same vowel sounds and
the same final consonants.
Onomatopoeia is the use of words such as buzz or bang
that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or
actions they refer to.
Other examples:
 Boom
 Meow
 Cuckoo
 Pow
 Splat
 Bam
 Drip
 Slurp
 Wham
 Moo