Figurative Language:

A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
A common definition of metaphor can be described as a comparison that shows how two things that are not alike in most ways are similar in another important way.

  • His words cut deeper than a knife. Words don't materialize into sharp objects…
  • I feel the stench of failure coming on. Failure isn't fun but it doesn't smell. ...
  • I'm drowning in a sea of grief. ...
  • I'm feeling blue. ...
  • She's going through a rollercoaster of emotions.

The formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named

  • Machine noises—honk, beep, vroom, clang, zap, boing.
  • Animal names—cuckoo, whip-poor-will, whooping crane, chickadee.
  • Impact sounds—boom, crash, whack, thump, bang.
  • Sounds of the voice—shush, giggle, growl, whine, murmur, blurt, whisper, hiss.

With personification, you emphasize a non-human's characteristics by describing them with human attributes. That non-human can be an object, an animal, or even an idea or a concept.


  • Lightning danced across the sky.
  • The wind howled in the night.
  • The car complained as the key was roughly turned in its ignition.
  • Rita heard the last piece of pie calling her name.
  • My alarm clock yells at me to get out of bed every morning.


Sensory Imagery

Sensory imagery involves the use of descriptive language to create mental images. In literary terms, sensory imagery is a type of imagery; the difference is that sensory imagery works by engaging a reader’s five senses. Any description of sensory experience in writing can be considered sensory imagery.


There are five main types of imagery, each related to one of the human senses:

  • Visual imagery (sight)
  • Auditory imagery (hearing)
  • Olfactory imagery (smell)
  • Gustatory imagery (taste)
  • Tactile imagery (touch)


  • The autumn leaves are like a blanket on the ground.
  • Her lips tasted as sweet as sugar.
  • His words felt like a dagger being thrust into my heart.
  • My head is pounding like a drum.
  • The kitten's fur is milky.
  • The siren turned into a whisper as it ended.


A figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid (e.g. as brave as a lion ).

as brave as a lion

very brave

as bright as a button

very bright

as bright as a new pin

very bright and shiny

as busy as a beaver

very busy

These are exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.

  • 'm so hungry, I could eat a horse.
  • My feet are killing me.
  • That plane ride took forever.
  • This is the best book ever written.
  • I love you to the moon and back.
  • The pen is mightier than the sword.
  • I've told you this 20,000 times.
  • Cry me a river.



The action of repeating something that has already been said or written.

  • Time after time.
  • Heart to heart.
  • Boys will be boys.
  • Hand in hand.
  • Get ready; get set; go.
  • Hour to hour.
  • Sorry, not sorry.
  • Over and over.


In alliteration, consonant sounds in two or more neighbouring words or syllables are repeated. The repeated sounds are usually the first, or initial, sounds—as in "seven sisters".


You might have heard this alliteration that repeats the ‘s’ and ‘l’ sounds:

Sally sells seashells by the seashore.

Another popular alliteration that repeats the ‘p’ sound:

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers.

B’’sound repeats:

The boy buzzed around as busy as a bee.

Bake a big cake with lots of butter and bring it to the birthday bash.


Assonance is the repitition of the same or similar vowel sounds within words, phrases, or sentences. 


  • Son of a gun
  • The cat is out of the bag
  • Dumb luck
  • After awhile, crocodile
  • Chips and dip
  • Cock of the walk
  • Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite
  • Stranger danger
  • Winner, winner, chicken dinner
  • Motion of the ocean
  • Keep your eyes on the prize
  • Lean, mean, fighting machine

Consonance is a figure of speech in which the same consonant sound repeats within a group of words.

  • Mike likes his new bike.
  • Toss the glass, boss.
  • It will creep and beep while you sleep.
  • He struck a streak of bad luck.
  • When Billie looked at the trailer, she smiled and laughed.
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