Figurative Lanaguage

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Figurative Language versus Literal Language
Critical Thinking – PHI 210

Figurative Language versus Literal Language
Figurative language is a language that uses embellished words or expressions to convey a message different from the literal interpretation. They are not to be taken literally but instead are meant to be imaginative (creative, inventive, offbeat), vivid (intense, flamboyant, dramatic) and evocative (suggestive). Poets (and writers) frequently use figurative language as a way to make their words jump off the page. Case in point, “it's raining hard” is literal; however, “it's raining cats and dogs” is figurative – unless animals are literally falling from the sky. So in short, figurative language is used to add spice to text/words that

Figurative Language versus Literal Language


Figurative language is an important part of the English language that allows a person to better express their thoughts. However, some are careless in using figurative language that can cause confusion and misunderstanding. Below are some examples of the most common types of figurative language as well as their examples.


Idioms are common in the English language but may pose problems if someone is not familiar with the idiomatic expression used. Idioms are words that hav a different meaning other than its literal meaning ( One example of idiomatic expression is, “on pins and needles”, which means excited or nervous in anticipation. If someone is unfamiliar with the term and another used it without expounding it, for example, I am on pin and needles until the results come out, the other person might interpret this as a problem.


Analogies provide for better comparison but being unfamiliar with the terms used can cause confusion. Analogies are figures of speech that compares one thing with another, highlighting the similarities between the two ( However, analogies may cause more...