Figure Of Speech: Kinds & Examples Of Literary Tools In English


These are the kinds and examples of the figures of speech

Using the figures of speech is a part of the English language that are considered to be literary tools.

This part is defined as a word or group of words that possess a different meaning from the literal definition.

Figures of Speech

Here are the kinds of figures of speech:


It is the repetition of the beginning sounds of neighboring words.


  • Blue baby bonnets bobbed through the bayou.
  • Nick needed new notebooks.
  • Fred fried frogs’ legs on Friday.


It is technique where several phrases or verses begin with the same word or words.


  • I came, I saw, I conquered. – Julius Caesar
  • It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. – A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickins
  • With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right – Abraham Lincoln


It is the repetition of vowel sounds (not just letters) in words that are close together but the sound it may not at the beginning of the word.


  • A – For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore. (Poe)
  • E – Therefore, all seasons shall be sweet to thee. (Coleridge)
  • I – From what I’ve tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire. (Frost)
  • O – Oh hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn. (Wordsworth)
  • U – Uncertain rustling of each purple curtain (Poe)


It is a mild, indirect, or vague term that is often used as a replacement to a harsh, vulgar or offensive term.


  • “Economical with the truth” instead of using the word “liar”
  • “A little thin on top” instead of saying that a person is “going bald”
  • “Letting you go” instead of using the phrase “firing you”


This simply means exaggeration.

  • I could do this forever.
  • She’s older than dirt.
  • I’ve told you to stop a thousand times.


It is used to mark contrast between what is said and what is meant, or between appearance and reality.

  • The Titanic was said to be unsinkable but sank on its first voyage. (Situational irony)
  • Naming a tiny Chihuahua Brutus. (Verbal irony)
  • When the audience knows the killer is hiding in a closet in a scary movie, but the actors do not. (Dramatic irony)


It is used to compare two unlike things or ideas.

  • Time is money
  • The world is a stage
  • She’s a night owl


It is a word that sounds like what it is describing.

  • Buzz
  • Click
  • Oink


It is a technique of using together two contradicting terms.

  • Jumbo shrimp
  • Sweet sorrow
  • Free market


It is used to associate human qualities to non-living things or ideas.


  • The fog crept in.
  • The flowers nodded.
  • The fog crept in.


It is used to compare two unlike things using “like” and “as”.


  • As blind as a bat
  • Eats like a pig
  • As wise as an owl


It is a technique using a part to represent a whole or the other way around.


  • Wheels – a car
  • The police – one policeman
  • Plastic – credit cards


It is used to lessen the importance and seriousness of something.


  • It stings a bit – referring to a serious wound or injury.
  • It’s just a scratch – referring to a large dent.
  • The weather is cooler today – referring to sub-zero temperatures.

Can you now used these figures of speech in your sentences?


English Idiomatic Expressions: Examples & Meanings


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