15 Kinds of Figures of Speech with Examples

Filed in Articles by on October 15, 2021 0 Comments

We all make use of the different figures of speech in our everyday conversations, no matter which language we speak. Being familiar with different types of figures of speech can not only increase your vocabulary in a particular language but also help you in your career. This is especially for those who want to pursue a career in translation, poetry or writing.

Also, having a solid idea of the different figures of speech can come in handy for a wide range of exams, including both language proficiency exams for studying abroad, and different competitive exams for work or study.

Want to familiarize yourself with the different figures of speech? Take a look at this blog for detailed information on the popular types of figures of speech.

What Are Figures of Speech?

The figure of speech is an integral part of any language, which are used extensively not only in our day to day speech but also in written texts and oral literature. These are a word or a phrase used in a distinctive way to produce a rhetorical effect. To say in very simple terms, it is a phrase whose actual meaning is different from its literal meaning. These are developed and expressed through a variety of different rhetorical techniques. All of us use different figures of speech in our daily conversations, both deliberately and subconsciously.

Importance of Figures of Speech

Figures of speech enhance your writing and content. For example, metaphors add important details that make the writing more relatable to the readers. Idioms help to express complex ideas in a short space. It makes the content presentable and more enjoyable to the writers.

Examples of Figures of Speech


Personification is a figure of speech that attributes human nature or human qualities to abstract or inanimate objects. For example, we often use the phrases like the howling wind, dancing leaves, time flies etc. Some examples of personification in a sentence are:

  • The opportunity knocked at his door
  • The plants in her house silently begged to be watered


A metaphor is a figure of speech that is used for implying a comparison between two things that have something in common but are in general different from each other. Some examples of the usage of metaphors in a sentence is as follows:

  • It is raining cats and dogs
  • He is the star of our class


A simile is a figure of speech that compares two things that are different from each other but have similar qualities. These are generally formed through the usage of the words ‘as’ or ‘like’. Some examples of similes in a sentence include:

  • He is as brave as a lion
  • Her expression was as cold as ice


Alliteration is a type of figure of speech in which a sentence consists of a series of words that have the same consonant sound at the beginning. Some popular examples of alliteration in a sentence include:

  • She sells sea shells on the sea shore
  • A good cook could cook as much cookies as a good cook who could cook cookies


This is a figure of speech that is used to express a sound. To be more precise, it involves the use of words that imitate the sounds associated with the action or object referred to i.e. hiss, clap, etc. Some examples of onomatopoeia include:

  • The buzzing bee flew over my head
  • The stone hit the water with a splash


A hyperbole is a figure of speech that consists of an exaggeration. It is the usage of exaggerated terms in order to emphasize or heighten the effect of something. Some examples of using hyperboles in a sentence include:

  • I have told you a million times to not touch my stuff!
  • She has got a pea-sized brain


Euphemism is the usage of a mild word in substitution of something that is more explicit or harsh when referring to something unfavorable or unpleasant. Some examples of the usage of this figure of speech include:

  • This mall has good facilities for differently-abled people
  • He passed away in his sleep


Irony or sarcasm is a figure of speech in which the usage of words conveys the opposite of their literal meaning. These are often used in a humorous manner. Some examples of irony include:

  • Your hands are as clean as mud
  • The dinner you served was as hot as ice


It is a repetition of a word or phrase at the start of several sentences of clauses. Some of the examples of anaphora figures of speech are as follows:

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “I Have a Dream” Speech
  • Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities


It addresses the subject that is not present in the work. In this case, the object is absent or inanimate. Here are some of the examples of apostrophes.

  • Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are
  • Welcome, O life!


Metonymy is a figure of speech in which one object or idea takes the place of another with which it has a close association. In fact, metonymy means “change of name.” As a literary device, it is a way of replacing an object or idea with something related to it instead of stating what is actually meant.

  • We will swear loyalty to the crown.
  • The White House will be making an announcement around noon.


Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part of something is used to signify the whole, or vice-versa. As a literary device, synecdoche allows for a smaller component of something to stand in for the larger whole, in a rhetorical manner. Synecdoche can work in the opposite direction as well, in which the larger whole stands in for a smaller component of something.

  • Kansas City scored the winning touchdown
  • Lend me your ears

Transferred Epithets

A transferred epithet is a little known—but often used—figure of speech in which a modifier (usually an adjective) qualifies a noun other than the person or thing it is actually describing. In other words, the modifier or epithet is transferred from the noun it is meant to describe to another noun in the sentence.

  • “I had a wonderful day.”
  • “sleepless night,”


Sarcasm is a form of verbal irony that mocks, ridicules, or expresses contempt. It’s really more a tone of voice than a rhetorical device. You’re saying the opposite of what you mean (verbal irony) and doing it in a, particularly hostile tone.

  • You are depriving some village of their idiot.
  • Did somebody write “stupid” on my forehead?


Often ingenious or witty statements are considered as epigrams, such as this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

  • “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

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Source: Sabonews.org

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