Figurative Language versus Literal Language: Comparison

The term figurative language describes the use of words or phrases that deviate from literal meaning to portray a different or related meaning to the original term. Application of figurative language in communication tends to interfere with the productive thinking and may make others not to contribute in a communication process (Carter, 1998). This study highlights some of the most common types of figurative languages used in communication. The study provides the meaning, application, and examples of the languages.

Idiom

An idiom can be defined as a group of words, expressions or phrases that have an alternate meaning from the literal language. The main function of an idiom in communication is to describe situations or characteristics that usually surpass the unbiased perception (Cruse, 2004).The common example of an idiom is ‘keeping one’s head above the water’ the meaning of the idiom means the ability to manage a problem or a challenge. This idiom is usually applied when referring to a difficult situation that one needs to overcome. The idiom may sometimes lead to misunderstanding when it is confused with the activity of drowning into water. For instance, when the term is used in an environment where people are swimming, it is possible to misinterpret the meaning of the idiom (Carter, 1998).

Haven’t Found The Relevant Content? Hire a Subject Expert to Help You With
Figurative Language versus Literal Language: Comparison
Post Your Own Question And Get A Custom Answer
Hire Writer

Analogy

Analogy is a comparison whereby ideas or items are compared based on their similarities. This figurative language relies on the relationship between two items or ideas. The main function of analogy is to highlight the level of agreement or closeness between two different items (Cruse, 2004). A good example of analogy is ‘just like a caterpillar comes out of its cocoon, so Tom must get out of the comfort zone’. This analogy compares the caterpillar coming out of its cocoon and Tom coming out of the comfort zone. This analogy is used in situations where someone is being advised to work hard in order to overcome the anticipated challenges in life. The analogy may be misunderstood in situations someone is already suffering or going through hard times (Carter, 1998).

Metaphor

A metaphor is a type of figurative language which compares items or ideas that are completely different. In metaphors, one item or idea is given qualities of another different item to make the look alike. Metaphors are used to create imagination and help in understanding something that may be complex to decode in literal language. The most common example that is used in the society is the phrase ‘broken heart’. This metaphor compares the heart with fragile things such as glasses and bottles. A broken heart is a phrase that is used to describe a situation whereby someone has been emotionally hurt or disappointed. Some people tend to confuse a broken heart with heart problems since they tend to give literal interpretations to the phrase (Cruse, 2004).

Simile

Simile is a figurative language that is used to compare ideas or items that have similar characteristics. Similes adopt the words ‘as ‘or ‘like’ in their comparison. The function of similes is to rate the qualities of an object by comparing it with the other. The common simile used in the society is the phrase ‘as beautiful as a queen’. The phrase compares anything beautiful to the queen. The phrase may be misunderstood where somebody has a different opinion on how to rate beauty (Carter, 1998).

Cliché

The term cliché refers to a phrase that has been overused or has become common place in communication. Clichés are used to describe how things happen at present, future, or past (Cruse, 2004). A good example of cliché is the phrase, ‘time will tell’. The phrase expresses something that may happen in future due to change in time. It is used in circumstances where some secrete will be revealed or someone will come to learn. The phrase may generate misunderstandings in situations where future events are already known.

Amphiboly

An amphiboly takes place when the structure of a sentence can be interpreted in two different ways. This figurative language is used in circumstances where one intends to convey to two different meanings from one sentence. For example, ‘they are flying cars’. The literal meaning of the sentence is that there some cars that are flying. The other meaning portrays the people who are flying the cars. When the sentence is taken literally, the second meaning may be lost, which may lead to misunderstanding (Cruse, 2004).

Flame Word

A flame word is a figurative language that is used to insult especially when describing someone’s level of competency, behavior, skills, or exposure. A good example of a flame word is the phrase ‘village boy or girl’. This insult is used to refer to someone who is not exposed to the current trends in the society. The term may be misunderstood especially when it is used in the village where the level of exposure is very low.

Hyperbole

A hyperbole is figurative language that relies on intentional exaggeration to pass information. Hyperboles are mainly applicable in circumstances where fiction is important than reality. Hyperboles are similar to metaphors or similes; however, they tend to add unnecessary information that may not be achieved in real world situation. An example of a hyperbole is ‘the grandmother is older than the mountains’. This sentence compares the age of the grandmother to that of the mountains. However, it is very factious to say that she is older than the mountains which have existed even before the grandmother was born. The sentence conveys the information about the grandmother’s age but at the same time exaggerates her age. Hyperboles generate misunderstandings when they are interpreted literally (Carter, 1998).

Euphemism

Euphemism refers to the figurative language that is used to create humor. However, it may sound pleasant or offensive depending on the context in which it is used. In other circumstances, euphemisms may be used to expresses coded language especially where the subject of discussion may be embarrassing. For instance, when talking about things such as death or sex next to a child, corded language may be used to prevent embarrassment (Cruse, 2004). A common example of euphemism is the phrase ‘Asleep with Jesus’. The phrase means death. It can be used in a situation where one does not want to mention the term death when referring to the dead person. However, the phrase may be misunderstood in a situation where it is interpreted literally to mean somebody is sleeping with Jesus. In this case it may generate comedy and confusion in equal measure.

Colloquialism

Colloquialism refers to the use of a word, phrases or sentences that are known to people in a particular geographical setting. Colloquialism is used among the people who understand them. They tend to create discrimination in communication and thinking. A good example of colloquialism that is common in the western culture is the phrase ‘red up your messes’. The phrase is used to inform an individual to clean or organize a place that has been used such as a bedroom. This phrase may create misunderstanding when it is used in communication where the one of the individuals is not used to the term (Carter, 1998).

References

Carter, R. (1998). Vocabulary: Applied Linguistic Perspectives.New York: Routledge.

Cruse, A. (2004). Meaning in language: Introduction to semantics and pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

MyhomeworkGeeks

Why Hire a Professional Essay Writer from MyHomeworkGeeks

Quality Urgent Essays

Domyhomeworkk online platform provides the best essay writing service ever received elsewhere, thanks to our professional essay writers. Experience gained in the 10+ years of being in the assignment writing industry is also an added advantage.

Professional and Experienced Academic Writers

A lot is done to maintain us as the best essay writing service provider. Besides owning a degree from a recognized university, a writer must pass the rigorous tests we take them through before they are considered eligible to offer urgent essay help on our website.

Affordable Urgent Assignment Help

Who said a reliable website should not be cheap also? While it is human nature to associate prices with quality, that does not always work. At domyhomeworkk.com, we guarantee you cheap and urgent essay help without compromising the quality.

24/7 Available Urgent Essay Writing Service

Whether it is a ‘write my essay for me cheap’ or ‘edit my essay’ order you want to request, always feel free to reach us at any time of the day. Our experts work in shifts to ensure that you access urgent essay writing services at any time of the day.

Plagiarism Free Essays Online

The punitive measures that come with plagiarized content are so harsh, and we understand that. We consequently ensure to write each client’s papers from scratch no matter how urgent the essay is. To acknowledge borrowed content, our quick writer references and cites the work.

Wow Customer Support 24/7

Our support agents are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and committed to providing you with the best customer experience. Get in touch whenever you need any assistance.

Try it now!

Calculate the price of your order

We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
Total price:
$0.00

How it works?

Follow these simple steps to get your paper done

Place your order

Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.

Proceed with the payment

Choose the payment system that suits you most.

Receive the final file

Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.

Our Services

So much stress and so little time? Take care of yourself: let us help you with your tasks. We offer all kinds of writing services.

Essays

Custom Essay Writing Services

No matter what kind of academic paper you need and how urgent you need it, you are welcome to choose your academic level and the type of your paper at an affordable price. We take care of all your paper needs and give a 24/7 customer care support system.

Admissions

Admission and Business Papers

An admission essay is an essay or other written statement by a candidate, often a potential student enrolling in a college, university, or graduate school. You can be rest assurred that through our service we will write the best admission essay for you.

Editing

Editing and Proofreading

Our academic writers and editors make the necessary changes to your paper so that it is polished. We also format your document by correctly quoting the sources and creating reference lists in the formats APA, Harvard, MLA, Chicago / Turabian.

Coursework

Revision Support

If you think your paper could be improved, you can request a review. In this case, your paper will be checked by the writer or assigned to an editor. You can use this option as many times as you see fit. This is free because we want you to be completely satisfied with the service offered.

Have a homework question? Get help from verified tutors now!