Figurative Language




Figurative language is using words or phrases that do not have their everyday, literal meaning. Authors use figurative language to transform writing into interesting, vivid communication.

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As early as grade 3, Common Core State Standards call for students to “determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.” By grades 11-12, the standards call for students to “Interpret figures of speech (e.g., hyperbole, paradox) in context and analyze their role in the text.”

VocabularySpellingCity’s word lists and fun, interactive games, activities, and printable worksheets reinforce understanding of figurative language, giving students at every grade level practice in learning to paint a picture with their words.

Play WhichWord with a similes word list to learn how these figures of speech are used in practice. A Sentence Writing Practice activity would then allow students to try their hand at using each example of figurative language in a sentence. MatchIt games will help students learn the definitions of the figures of speech. VocabularySpellingCity also recognizes the importance of student collaboration, and has created fun printable activities that your students can work together to complete.

Types of figurative language:

Hyperbole – exaggeration used to emphasize a point or to add excitement or humor.
Idiom – expression in which the intended meaning is different from the literal meaning.
Metaphor – direct comparison between two dissimilar things.
Personification – literary device used to give human characteristics to nonhuman objects.
Simile – comparison between two unlike things using the word “like” or “as.”

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Common Core State Standards Related to Figurative Language

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.5.a
Distinguish the literal and nonliteral meanings of words and phrases in context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.5.a
Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.5.b
Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.

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