20 Types Of Figures Of Speech With Definitions And Examples

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Figures of speech are an essential part of language. They are used to express ideas and emotions in ways that can be both powerful and beautiful. From metaphors to hyperbole, there is a vast array of figures of speech available for writers and speakers alike. In this article, we will explore 20 types of figures of speech with definitions and examples so you can better understand how they work.

20 types of figures of speech

What is a Figure of Speech?

A figure of speech is when someone uses words and phrases that go beyond the literal definition in order to achieve a certain effect or feeling. This could be done for comedic purposes, to emphasize a point, or to draw attention to something. Unlike literal discussion which takes the meaning of words at face value, figures of speech rely on contextual meanings to convey a message.

Some popular figures of speech include metaphor, simile, alliteration, rhetorical question and hyperbole. Figures of speech help us express complex ideas without an excessive amount of words, giving our language more versatility and emotion.

Why are Figures of Speech Important?

Figurative language is an essential part of communication, as it adds color and vibrancy to ideas. Humans have an innate need to express themselves uniquely and figurative language facilitates this by providing a richer vocabulary for conveying emotions, thoughts, and experiences. It also allows us to describe abstract concepts more effectively.

By using a variation of non-literal speech in our everyday conversations, we convey greater understanding when trying to explain difficult concepts or even mundane topics such as the weather. And most importantly, figures of speech give our language personality. We can

20 Types of Figures of Speech with Definitions and Examples

Whether you’re looking to enhance your writing or just want to learn more about the way language works, this list is sure to help!

  1. Alliteration: Refers to the repetition of similar consonant sounds in a phrase or sentence. Example: “She sells seashells by the seashore.”
  2. Anaphora: Refers to the repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of consecutive sentences or clauses. Example: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets…”
  3. Antithesis: Contrasting ideas expressed through parallel structure. Example: “To be, or not to be—that is the question.”
  4. Apostrophe: Directly addressing an absent person, thing, or idea. Example: “O death, where is thy sting?”
  5. Assonance: The repetition of similar vowel sounds in a phrase or sentence. Example: “And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain.”
  6. Chiasmus: Refers to an inverted order of words in two parallel phrases. Example: “Love and hate are two sides of the same coin.”
  7. Euphemism: Substituting a mild expression for one that might be considered too harsh or blunt. Example: “She passed away” instead of “she died”.
  8. Hyperbole: Exaggeration for emphasis or comic effect. Example: “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”
  9. Irony: Expressing an idea or opinion that is opposite to what one really means. Example: “She’s always late — like clockwork!”
  10. Metaphor: Comparing two unlike things without using “like” or “as”. Example: “You are my sunshine.”
  11. Onomatopoeia: Using words that imitate the sound they describe. Example: “The bee buzzed around the room.”
  12. Personification: Giving human qualities to non-human writing and speech, but understanding how they work can give you a valuable tool to enhance your words. Try some of these out in your own writing and see how they can help you say more with less.


Knowing the different types of figures of speech can be a great way to enhance your writing. Experiment with them in your own work and see how you can use them to express yourself more effectively. With practice, you’ll soon become an expert!


What is a figure of speech?

A figure of speech is a phrase or word used to describe something in an imaginative way, often using figures of speech to evoke strong emotions. Figures of speech can be used to emphasize a point, create vivid imagery, and make the How are figures of speech typically used?

Figures of speech are typically used to add emphasis, express emotion, and create an interesting visual image for the reader. They can also be used as literary devices to help What are some examples of figures of speech?

Some common examples of figures of speech include metaphors, similes, hyperboles, alliteration, personification, and idioms. Each figure has its own unique purpose or impact when used in writing.

What are the different types of figures of speech?

There are 20 main types of figures of speech; each type has a definition and example associated with it. These include metaphor, simile, hyperbole, personification, alliteration, assonance, consonance, anaphora, oxymoron, metonymy/synecdoche/kenning/antanaclasis/epithet/euphemism/onomatopoeia/antimetabole, paronomasia, litotes, paradox, irony and pun.

What is the purpose of using figures of speech?

The purpose of using figures of speech is to make the language more vivid and engaging for readers. They can also be used to emphasize a point or add emotion, creating an image in the mind’s eye that helps bring a story alive. Ultimately, they help readers How do I use figures of speech correctly?

When writing with figures of speech it’s important to ensure their usage fits within context and conveys your message in the most effective way possible. Consider your audience and the type of writing in which you are engaging, as well as the impact figures of speech will have on them. Additionally, be aware of any potential miscommunications that may arise when using certain figures of speech.

Different cultures often interpret language differently and careful consideration should be taken to ensure accuracy. Finally, when utilizing a figure of speech make sure it is used properly; pay attention to spelling, grammar, punctuation and word choice as small mistakes can drastically alter the meaning of words.

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