A figure of speech is a form of expression like a simile or metaphor which is used to convey meaning or increase the gravity of something often by comparing or identifying one thing to another. This effect might be used rhetorically in a deliberate arrangement of words to achieve something poetic, or the creation of imagery as in the use of language in order to suggest a visual picture or make the idea being discussed more vivid and attractive. Overall, figures of speech are used as literary devices because of the expressive use of language it has. Words are used in many other ways than the meanings they have literally or typical manner of application.
The term figure of speech has a wide range of literary devices under it. Here are a few of the most common ones:
- Simile – A simile is a figure of speech where two essentially dissimilar concepts are compared with each another by using “like” or “as.” Eg. as cool as a cucumber, as slippery as soap, etc.
- Metaphor – A metaphor is a figure of speech where a comparison is made between two non-similar things. Metaphors create implicit comparisons without using “like” or “as.” Eg., she is a late bloomer, he had a heart of gold, etc.
- Personification – Personification is a figure of speech where an idea or thing is given human attributes. In other words, a particular object or other inanimate thing is considered human as a literary device. This is a common form of metaphor and allows writers to create life and motion within inanimate spaces, animals, or go even as far as giving life to abstract ideas.
- Hyperbole – Hyperbole is a literary device that creates a heightened effect by means of deliberate exaggeration. Hyperbole is something that often has negative connotations to it.