The Topic:
Figurative Language

Easier - Figurative language or speech contains images. The writer or speaker describes something through the use of unusual comparisons, for effect, interest, and to make things clearer. The result of using this technique is the creation of interesting images.
Harder - Figurative language is not intended to be interpreted in a literal sense. Appealing to the imagination, figurative language provides new ways of looking at the world. It always makes use of a comparison between different things. Figurative language compares two things that are different in enough ways so that their similarities, when pointed out, are interesting, unique and/or surprising.
Figurative Language from Kids Connect
This site provides a brief description and example for several techniques of communicating imagery in writing and speech and also contains a great index to other websites.
Figurative Language of page
This webpage provides a brief glossary that can help you recognize the various uses of language and to define and apply the appropriate literary terms.
Related Websites:
2) Figurative Language
3) Figurative Language
4) Literal and Figurative Meaning of Words
5) What is the Defination of Figurative Language? from Essortment
Mrs. Dowling's Literature Terms
Here you find study guides that provide explanations for each term, as well as quizzes for each.
Related Webpage from Mrs. Dowling:
2) Figurative Language
Related Websites:
3) Figures of Speech by G. Williams
4) Glossary of Rhetorical Terms
The Wacky World of Words
This site provides several examples of interesting similes.
Related Section at Wacky World of Words:
2) Oxymorons
2) Similes
Visit some of the websites, then select and complete one or more of these figurative language projects:
Write Some Sizzling Similes! Go to (1) The Simile Satellite (Grades 3-6) and write some simile poems with the 'terrible twins.' Others might want to identify the figures used in J.F.K's inaugural speech at (3) Figurative Language.
Make Some Figurative Language Artwork. Select a figurative speech phrase and create a drawing that illustrates it. For example you might choose the simile that a person is 'smart as a whip.' Draw a picture that portrays that simile. Display your artwork along with the phrase that matches it.
Incorporate Figurative Language Into Ads. Create an ad for a new product. Incorporate figurative speech in the advertising text. Use a graphics software such as Claris Draw or KidPix to create your advertisement. Get some startup ideas at Figurative Language. You may also find the document, Using Figurative Language to Increase Advertising Effectiveness by R.J. Kreuz, helpful. For lots of other information about advertising, go to Advertising (Another 42eXplore project from eduScapes).
Act Out Figurative Language. This activity works best as a group project. Select three phrases, each an example of a different type of figurative language. For example, you could select the idiom 'You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.' Then act them out and use a video camera to record them. Share with other groups.
Create Original Figures of Speech. Visit several of the sites and look at different examples of figurative speech and language. Then create new and original phrases. Identify the type of figurative language that each illustrate.
Few More Figurative Language Sites
Cobuild Idiom of the Day
Each day, this page will automatically display a random entry from the Cobuild Dictionary of Idioms.
Figurative Language
This site briefly introduces similes and metaphors.
Related Website:
Figurative Language (Continued)
Inference: Figurative Language by D.J. Kurland
Further evidence of the need to read ideas, not simply words, comes from the use of figurative language. We often convey meaning by suggesting that something is like something else.
Metaphors We Can Learn By (Forum, v.32, No. 3) by by D. Ponterotto
All aspects of figurativeness (metaphor, idiomaticity, and semantic extension) seem to present difficulty for learners. Most textbooks skirt the issue of figurativeness and concentrate on the denotative aspects of language. This article explains how insights from cognitive linguistic research can improve the teaching/learning of figurative language.
Using Figures of Speech in Descriptive Paragraphs
A figure of speech is a comparison - - like similes, metaphors, or personification. Overuse of such comparisons makes a descriptive paragraph cumbersome and the meaning of its sentences sometimes misleading. Here are some helpful hints in using figures of speech in description:
Websites for Teachers
Figurative Language Academy Awards (Grades 4-6) by P. Wenger
Students will aquire a clear understanding of the concept of the figurative language devices of simile,metaphor, and personification. They will be able to recognize examples and demonstrate use of the threedevices in their own writings.
Figuratively Speaking (Grades 3-5) from Teacher Created Materials
Students will learn about and create examples of figurative language.
Related Lessons:
2) Figurative Language (Grade 2) by V. Crossley
3) Figurative Language Academy Awards (Grades 4-6) by P. Wenger
Painting Poetic Pictures with Imagery, Figurative Language, and Shape (Grade 7),1607,7-155-13497_13503_13504-41014--,00.html
Students continue to read Out of the Dust to identify and analyze the author’s use of imagery, figurative language, and arrangement of language on a page.
Poetic Imagery
This lesson leads students to create poems enabling their reader to visualize what they are trying to tell them.
Teaching Science Concepts to Children: The Role of Analogies by S. Glynn, A. Russell, & D. Noah
This website highlights a new, research-based method for teaching science concepts in the schools. This method uses analogies to help children form initial mental models of key science concepts.
Teaching Similes and Metaphors
Here you find some suggested ways to introduce these figurative language concepts.
Other Related Lesson Plans:
Alliteration Lesson Plan and Resources
Hyperbole- Lesson Plans and Resources
Idiom Lesson Plan
Imagery- Lesson Plans and Resources
Lesson Plan for Puns
Onomatopoeia- Lesson Plans and Resources
Personification Lesson Plans and Resources
Proverbs- Lesson Plans and Resources
rhetorical use
extended metaphor
verbal picture
figure of speech
extended simile
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 10/00. Updated, 5/03.