A figure of speech is the use of a word or words diverging from its usual meaning. It can also be a special repetition, arrangement or omission of words with literal meaning, or a phrase with a specialized meaning not based on the literal meaning of the words in it, as in idiom, metaphor, simile, hyperbole, or personification. Figures of speech often provide emphasis, freshness of expression, or clarity. However, clarity may also suffer from their use, as any figure of speech introduces an ambiguity between literal and figurative interpretation. A figure of speech is sometimes called a rhetorical figure or a locution.
Parts of Figure Speech:
SIMILE: A figure of speech in which an explicit comparison is made between two essentially unlike things, usually using like, as or than, as in Burns', "O, my luve's like A Red, Red Rose" or Shelley's "As still as a brooding dove," in The Cloud.
METAPHOR: A figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one object or idea is applied to another, thereby suggesting a likeness or analogy between them. The Leaves of Life keep falling one by one.
PERSONIFICATION : A type of metaphor in which distinctive human characteristics, e.g., honesty, emotion, volition, etc., are attributed to an animal, object or idea, as "The haughty lion surveyed his realm" or "My car was happy to be washed" or "'Fate frowned on his endeavors." Personification is commonly used in allegory.
SYMBOL: An image transferred by something that stands for or represents something else, like flag for country, or autumn for maturity. Symbols can transfer the ideas embodied in the image without stating them, as in Robert Frost's Acquainted With the Night, in which night is symbolic of death or depression, or Sara Teasdale's The Long Hill, in which the climb up the hill symbolizes life and the brambles are symbolic of life's adversities.
HYPERBOLE: A bold, deliberate overstatement, e.g., "I'd give my right arm for a...