Figures of Speech Examples
A figure of speech is a word or phrase that is not used literally. In other words, the language takes on a different meaning than the word or words that make it up. This is often done by using words to draw comparisons.
There are many different types of figures of speech. Four of the most common are metaphor, simile, personification, and hyperbole.
Metaphor-a comparison between two unlike things.
Example: Your love is a red rose.
Simile-a comparison between two things using "like" or "as."
Example: Your love is like a red rose.
Personification-giving human characteristics to a non-living thing.
Example: The shirt danced in the wind.
Example: It's raining cats and dogs.
Examples from Literature:
Shakespeare was a master of figures of speech, and all four of these common figures of speech can be found in the play Romeo and Juliet.
Metaphor: Romeo compares Juliet to the sun.
"But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? / It is the east and Juliet the sun."
Simile: Romeo compares Juliet to a shiny jewel in an Ethiopian's ear.
"O she doth teach the torches to burn bright / It seems she hangs upon the check of night / like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear."
Personification: Love is described as a tyrant.
"Alas that love so gentle in his view / should be so tyrannous and rough in proof."
Hyperbole: Romeo describes being exiled from Verona as hell.
"There is no world without Verona walls / but purgatory, torture, hell itself."
Literary Terms Examples