Figure of speech

Figure of speech has given alot of impact in terms of economic use of language in speech, articles, magazines etc.

A figure of speech is also a deviation from ordinary use of words, to create and increase effectiveness in speech.

A figure of speech can also be defined as a departure from the usual expression for the purpose of making meaning clearer, forcefully spoken and it’s beautification.

Figure of speech can be subdivide in various ways such as group of comparison, group of opposite, sounds etc

Group of Comparison 

Simile: is a direct comparison with the use of like or as.  Something is compare to something else to create a vivid image to the readers mind. Example

a. John whistled like a bird.

b. My daughter dance like an angel.

c. He is as hungry as a lion.

d. She is like a fairly.

Metaphor: it is informal or implied simile in which words like “as, like” are omitted. Example “he is like a lion”(simile) and “he is a lion” (metaphor). It’s can also be defined as a comparison between two unlike things that actually things in common. Example;

a. She is now the sunset of her days

b. He is a star of our family

c. The lion man overshadowed the weak boy

d. The sea is a hungry lion.

Noted: metaphor is like comparing two things for instance when answering questions, make sure that you say x is being compare to y. And the results is….

personification: is given human attributes of personal nature, intelligence or character to inanimate objects. Example;

a. The ocean roared.

b. The tea kettle screamed out in the kitchen.

c. The cloud looked down and wept

d. The wind whisper…

e. Little sorrow sit and weep

f. The dishes ran away with the spoon

Figures of opposite 

Oxymoron: this all about, placing two contradictory words side by side, yet they work. Example bitter sweet, growing backwards, awful nice, small crowd, original copy, act naturally, found missing, jump together, ill health, loving hate etc.

Antithesis: it means placing  two opposite statement within the same sentence.

Its is also striking  opposition or contrast of words in the same sentence to secure emphasises.


a. To err is human, to forgive is divine.

b. Give everyman thy ear but few thy voice.

c. He is a mouse in stature and lion in his strength.

d. We must learn to live together as a brother or perish as fools.

e. Love is an ideal things, married is a real thing.

f. I love to hate him.

Paradox: is an absurd or self contradictory statement which when analysed, is found to be true. Example;

a. The longest route is the quickest way home.

b. You will kill him with your kindness

c. The swiftest traveller is he that goes afoot.

d. Of you wish to preserve your secrets, wrapped it up with frankness.

.All the rest 


Is cleaver play on words. It’s also alike in sounds but different in meaning. Example;

a. sincerely paws instead of sincerely yours; makes like a tree and leaf.

b. Cricket captian stumped.

c. The way my husband cuts his cheese, really grates me

d. It life with living? It depends upon the liver.

Irony: saying opposite of what you think or expect to happen.  Example

a. The child of cobbler has no shoes

b. Last year’s 200metres medalist dies in swimming pool.

c. A man who has a fear of flying, dies in plane crash.

d. It was ironic that the fire station burned down.

Euphemism:  it means speaking agreeable and in favour terms to someone.

Its  like using something ugly in a nice way. Example;

a. Passed away instead of died

b. Correctional facility instead of jail

c. Ethnic cleansing instead of genocide

d. Put in a family way instead of being impregnated.

e. Differently abled instead of


f. Relocation center instead of prison camp.

g. Collateral damages instead of fatal accident

h. On street instead of homeless

Innuendo: it means implying something without saying it in full. It is usually a disapproval remark. Example

a. What do you think of my dress? Well it’s nice.

b. How do you like my painting? Hmm the frame is beautiful.

Apostrophe: address or speaking to inanimate objects. Or addressing inanimate objects as if it is present or has died long time ago. Example;

a. Oh! Wild west wind, you are so powerful

b. Thou art worthy to recieve praise (gods)

c. Oh! Shakespeare if you could online see the globe today

d. Oh! death how might art thou.

Hperbole: its an overstatement or exaggeration mainly do emphasis. It’s not to be taken literally. Example;

a. laughed off my ass.

b. John swallow a mighty of fufu.

c. The teacher complained that she had hundred of interruptions that day

d. I have told you a million times

e. I coughed my lungs out with that smook.

f. Virtue as the sand of the shore.

Litotes: litotes is an understatement. It usually use negative to emphasize on positive message across.

a. I am not a little

b. He his no dullard

c. He is no Einstein

d. The sight was far from pretty

e. Not a bad day’s work

f. Jonny is no pish over

Bathos/ Anti climatx: its is a build of ideas but the final statement is often flat and unexpected. The effects is humorous.


a. They came…they saw… They did a bit of shopping.

b. When the arm robbers robs my friend, they beat him mercilessly, took his money and one of his polish shoes.

Climax: is an arrangements of series of ideal in order of importance. It’s the opposite of anti climax. Example

a. The did a bit of shopping… They saw… And they came.

b. When the robbers robs my friend, they took his shoes, his money and beat him mercilessly.

Epigram: a short witty statement or shortbpointed saying which often contains humour or irony. Example;

a. The child is the father of the man.

b. Fools rush in when angels fear to tread.

c. Conspicuous by it’s absence.

d. If you think education is expensive, try illiteracy.

e. The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the law.

f. Friendship is what one expect from others!

Mentonymy: refering to something closely associated with an object. Example

a. From the cradle to the grave. (From childhood to death).

b. The word “bread” represent food in general or money.

c. The word “wheel” represent vehicles

d. Boil the kettle (the water boils not the kettle).

Synecdoche: synecdoche means refering a part as a whole example,

a. I want your hand in marriage

b. All hands on desk

c. My heart graieved when my little puppy died.

Figures of Sound.

Onomatopoeia: formation of words whose sound his made to suggest. Example:

a. Dog  (bark)

b. Cat (meow).

c. Gun (gbo gbo gbo).

d. Cock (crew).

Aliteration: it’s the repetition of words or syllables in beginning of two or more words. Example;

a. Glitter I through the gloomy – G

b. The farrow follows – F

c. Some Sally says stupid stuff – S

d. I love green and brown green goats -G

Assonance: it’s the repetition of vowel sounds in a word. Example

a. Howls hollow long and loud – O

b. How non brown cow -O

c. The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain. – A

These are the figure of speech which will serve as a guild and when next to use in speech, writings and even in examination hall.




Related Articles