Video:What Is a Figure of Speech?with Heather Kamins
A figure of speech is a phrase that uses language in a non-literal way. People often don't realize they use figures of speech when they are sarcastic or exaggerate. Learn more about these phrases in this About.com video.See Transcript
Transcript:What Is a Figure of Speech?
Hello, I'm Heather Kamins for About.com. Today, we're going to talk about what is a figure of speech.
A figure of speech is a phrase that uses language in a non-literal or non-standard way It's a broad term that includes metaphor, simile, hyperbole, and a lot of other different types of speech.
Exaggerating Figures of Speech
So here's an example: To use literal speech you could say, “It’s very hot today.” But if you wanted to use a figure of speech, you could use a simile and say, "It's as hot as an oven;" or you could use hyperbole and say "It's a million degrees today." Both of those examples work by comparing hot day to something even hotter.
Using Irony in Speech
But some kinds of figures of speech do the opposite of that. For example, irony uses the opposite of the literal meaning of words, and often has a humorous or strange effect. For example, you could say, "Oh, it's so cool and pleasant today," when it's really very hot. And that will often get picked up through the speaker's context or their tone.
Figures of Speech Using Word Sounds
Figures of speech can do more than compare. They can also focus on the sounds of the words. For example, alliteration uses the same initial consonant in multiple words. For example, "Weird words are wonderful" - that's about the sound. Onomatopoeia is a word that makes the same sound as the object it refers to. For example: splat. Something that makes a splat sound actually sounds like splat.
These are just a few examples. There are lots of other examples of figures of speech you can use to make your conversations and your papers more interesting.Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.