What is Figure of Speech? Types of Figure of Speech and Examples

What is Figure of Speech? Types of Figure of Speech and Examples

Figure of Speech

Speech figures, which are frequently used in a text or during a speech, are used to create a certain effect and actually aim to tell something without expressing the real meaning of the word. Although these words or phrases are generally used in poetry to create a better discourse, they often appear in everyday speech as well. For example, we can use more poetic language to recommend a beautiful painting, or we can use different ways of speaking to make an idea more vivid. In general, figures of speech are used to make the language more attractive and to give a more literary discourse to speech or writing. We can say that in all speech figures, words are used far from their literal meanings and are used in a different way from their typical usage.

Types of Figures of Speech

Although Speech figures are a high-level grammar subject that includes dozens of different types of literary expression, we only focused on a few simple topics as we will explain this subject in a simpler way. We can tabulate the speech figures that we will process in this text as follows:


Definition and Examples of Simile

In a simile, which is based on comparing two objects or words that are basically different from each other, using some words, the words like and until are usually used, and the simile is realized in this way. When making a simile, like or as is used when equivalence is wanted, and similarity is tried to be obtained with these patterns.

  • I wish your future to be as bright as the sun in the sky.
  • You have to stay away from that woman, she is hard as a nail.
  • I want so much to be free as a bird.

Definition and Examples of Personification

In the art of personification, in which a non-human idea or any object or animal is given human characteristics, ideas and objects with human characteristics are treated as if they were real people. In the art of personification, which is a common form of metaphor, human-specific behaviors and characteristics can be attributed to all non-human beings. Thanks to this attribution, non-human beings can be given life and mobility.

  • As much as I like to eat onions, onions don’t like me very much.
  • Although I would love to work today, my will insists on not listening to me.

Definition and Examples of Understatement

Understatement art, which is used to express incomplete sentences, is the deliberate mistake of some writers and artists. In fact, the main purpose of this art of speech, which cannot be called a mistake, is to show a certain situation as less important than it is.

  • He is not very successful in his classes. (Actually, he’s quite unsuccessful in his classes, but the author tries to make it clear that it doesn’t matter.)
  • The wind blew stronger than usual. (Actually, there was a storm serious enough to rip up the power poles, but the author ignored it.)

Definition and Examples of Metonymy

When an object or idea is in close association with another object or other idea and replaces the other idea or object, it is called metonymy rhetoric. When we look at the definition in the dictionary, metonymy rhetoric, which means a name change but expresses more than that, is frequently used by many poets, and we frequently encounter it in our daily life.

It is a metonym for our use of the word Hollywood to refer to the film industry.

Academics is a word that includes all schools, colleges, universities, classes, courses, and everything related to education. This is an important example of metonymy that we may encounter in daily life.

Definition and Examples of Synecdoche

Synecdoche, which is rhetoric used to indicate a part of anything on a subject, is actually rhetoric that can be used for the opposite. Although this rhetoric, which has passed from Greek to English as a noun origin, can be explained as a simultaneous meaning, it is not such simple rhetoric. In fact, Synecdoche rhetoric is rhetoric by writers or poets that deals with a particular aspect of that word to express any word or an idea in a different way.

Although the White House is a word that refers to the president of the United States, it got this name because it is a white house.

Pentagon is a word denoting America’s military leaders, and the synecdoche rhetoric is masterfully used here.

Definition and Examples of Euphemism

The euphemism rhetoric used to change words or expressions about a concept that might offend other people is used to make words that might be rude, harsh, or disagreeable more polite.

It is an example of euphemism when a person who wants to go to the toilet says he is going to the “porcelain throne”.

We call the poor people the “economically struggling” people, which is an important example of euphemism.

Since killing someone is not a welcome term, we prefer “to sleep” instead of the word euthanasia.

Definition and Examples of Litotes

In Litotes rhetoric, which is used to describe a positive expression, claim, or statement, the same thing is expressed by using the sentence that should actually be used in a positive way, in a negative way. Let’s take a look at the examples to understand this better:

The sports car Alice just bought wasn’t cheap. (Normally, we should have written this sentence as “The sports car Alice bought was quite expensive”, but we preferred to use Litotes rhetoric by putting this sentence in a negative way.)

Definition and Examples of Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia, which is the imitation of the sounds in nature, is rhetoric formed by imitating the sounds of nature. We can give examples of this rhetoric as follows:

The cat was constantly meowing to us for food because it was so hungry, but we didn’t have enough cat food to give it.

Angela’s dog barked in horror as she threw the books she was holding onto the floor with a loud noise.