In an article for NPR, Linda Holmes inquires into the
September 20, 2022
If you’ve ever read a book, listened to the radio, or had basically any kind of human interaction, then you’ve already had a lot of experience with figurative language.
If you were raised by wolves in the forgotten wilds of Ontario, you’ve never heard anything like it –get ready to have your mind blown.
You see, figurative language is so common that most of us use it all the time without even realizing. Assuming you’ve spent your life communicating with people and not howling at the moon, you probably have a whole store of figures of speech in your vocabulary.
If your dad says that a coworker stabbed him in the back, you don’t flip him over and start applying a tourniquet. Your sister’s claim that she has butterflies in her stomach doesn’t send you searching the web for a good gastroenterologist. When a friend says he’s been shot by Cupid’s arrow, you don’t dive for cover and start scanning the bushes for a baby with a crossbow.
You know that these are just expressions, that the person who speaks them doesn’t mean them literally. And that’s all figurative language is: using words in a way that implies something beyond their literal meaning.
1. What are some examples of figurative language you use in your everyday communication?
Give at least two examples of expressions or figures of speech that you use all the time, but don’t mean them literally .