Some Common Types of Figures of Speech

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Poets from the earliest till to date use some literary devices to make their poems rich and beautiful, writers use them in stories as well. These literary devices are known as Figures of Speech; figures of speech are words or phrase that is used in non-literal (figurative) or for a vivid effect. Here is a list of 8 such figures of speech that are used in writing poetry and prose.

  1. Alliteration: The repetition of the initial consonant sound two or more times. E.g. She sells seashells on the seashore. Here, the sounds, “s” and “sh” are repeated throughout the sentence. Or, He sat in solemn silence.
  2. Hyperbole: To exaggerate facts out of proportion for emphasis. E.g. “Sam had been to the park a thousand times today!”
  3. Allusion: A short reference to a historical, mythical, religious or literary figure, place or other such aspects to draw a parallel in a writer’s or poet’s story. E.g. His anger flashed like that of Zeus (a mythical figure; Greek god).
  4. Simile: Comparing two unlike objects to show their similarities. Words such as ‘like’ ‘as’ ‘than’ are used for comparison. E.g. He is as brave as a tiger, or braver than a tiger.
  5. Metaphor: Like simile, it is also used for comparison, but in metaphor, an object is said to “be” another instead of being “like” another. E.g. He is a tiger [meaning he is as brave as a tiger].
  6. Repetition: Repetition is usually thought of as a more general effect used in writing, but it is, in fact, a figure of speech. It is when a word or phrase is repeated two or more times for effect. E.g. “He went on and on and on and on…”
  7. Personification: Personification is the phenomenon of giving an inanimate object human-like qualities or characteristics. E.g. The thin branches of the trees danced about in the wind.
  8. Onomatopoeia: Onomatopoeic words are those that express sounds to create an audible effect through writing. E.g. Boom, Crash, Tick-tock, and so on.​

​​These are the list of some of the most common types of Figures of Speech that will help you identify effects that writers use to create great pieces of literature and will help you enhance your own writing as well.