Figurative language checker prompt:
You can’t always be literal while writing.
Some types of writing will require literal language, but in other cases, you might need to be figurative.
Figurative language is a bit more on the poetic side of things. It involves using a wide range of tools and writing styles.
It’s not just restricted to creative writing either.
Rather, it can be important in academic writing, corporate documents, and a wide range of other types of writing as well.
Learning how to use figurative language is important. It can help you to become more persuasive as well as get your point across more effectively.
We are going to start off by discussing some of the most common types of figurative language.
Types of Figurative Language
- Metaphor: This is one of the most important types of figurative language. It involves comparing one object to another in a way that does not make literal sense. For example, “He ruled with an iron fist” is a metaphor. The ruler in question does not literally have a fist made of iron. Rather, certain qualities of his rule might bear similarities to qualities associated with iron. Such as being cold, hard or unyielding.
- Simile: People often get confused between similes and metaphors. They are definitely quite similar. But with similes you describe the specific qualities that one entity might share with another. For example, “He was as fast as a horse”. It is impossible for a human to actually run as fast as a horse. The individual’s speed is only being described as such to make a point. A metaphor in this case would be “He was a horse”. This packs less of a punch than the simile.
- Personification: This involves using human attributes to describe inhuman and often inanimate objects. “The waves crashed angrily” and “the cruel desert sun” are both examples of personification.
- Hyperbole: Figurative language often involves exaggeration. But this exaggeration is usually measured and deliberate. “He lost his head”, “I work a million hours a day” and “I could eat an entire horse” are all examples of hyperbole. This can be used to make a point about the extreme nature of an act or behavior. Extreme qualities and attributes can be described similarly as well.
- Idioms: These are also similar to metaphors. They usually use common phrases. These phrases are widely known in the English language. It is important that you use phrases like this wherever you can. An example of an idiom is “he burned that bridge”. “He kicked the bucket”, “Don’t steal my thunder,” and “She spilled the beans” are commonly used idioms too.
Tips to Avoid Mistakes
Using figurative language is definitely important. But inexperienced writers can sometimes face problems while using it. These problems usually come from a lack of experience. Practicing figurative language can help you to improve. You can also get the help of online tools to smooth your writing out. Firstly, though, you need to learn some common figurative language mistakes so that you can avoid them. Here are the mistakes that you should keep in mind.
- Being Excessive: The use of some figurative language is great. But going overboard can spoil their impact. You should try to use figurative language sparingly. Try to spread it out through your writing. Forcing it into your writing when literal language would suffice is a big mistake. This is a fairly common mistake. Writers often get overexcited after learning some new figurative language tricks. It’s understandable that you might want to use them as often as possible. Just remember that less is more when it comes to figurative language.
- Clichéd Expressions: Just because something genuinely qualifies as figurative language doesn’t mean you have to use it. Certain phrases have been used so frequently that they have lost their efficacy. Idioms like “fish out of water”, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and “there’s no place like home” are going to make your writing seem old fashioned. They can still be used occasionally. But these uses are mostly ironic. It’s rare to see a professional writer using these expressions earnestly.
- Improper Integration: Sometimes you can use the right type of figurative language but you might not integrate it properly into your writing. It’s important to learn how to add the figurative language in a way that makes sense.
- Informal Language: This depends on what kind of writing you’re doing. Some expressions are figurative but too informal based on the context. Hyperbole is a good example of this. It’s not suitable for most formal types of writing. There are very specific cases in which it can be used. Some types of literary writing can make use of it.
- Repetitiveness: This is similar to being excessive. It involves you using multiple idioms that mean the same thing. A single idiom can do the trick. If you’ve used figurative language in one place, using something similar again later on isn’t a good idea. It can reduce the impact of the initial idiom. Repetitiveness is the bane of good writing after all.