Add Figurative Language to Engage Your Reader

Why should figurative language be used in engaging writing?

Figurative language makes a comparison that is not meant to be read literally; instead, figures of speech are intended to create a connection or highlight a significant part of a discussion. Certain literary devices—such as similes, metaphors, and personification—can help create word pictures for the reader. When persuasive writers use figurative language, they are more likely to engage their readers and make their argument more relevant and convincing.

How can figurative language be used to engage the reader?

  • Use similesto make a direct comparison between a topic or issue and another item or event in a way that paints a vivid picture for the reader.
    • Example of a simile: John Smith’s economic improvement methods were like an executioner at a guillotine; he cut off funding with one quick sweep, leaving little time for the victimized party to contest.
  • Use metaphorsto help create a visual representation for the reader by framing the topic or issue as something else.
    • Example of a metaphor: In the courtroom, Clarissa was a defenseless rabbit. She looked wide eyed and afraid, shook uncontrollably while on the stand, and cried when the prosecution began to question her.
  • Use personificationto produce a visual connection by assigning a human trait to an inanimate or nonhuman object.
    • Example ofpersonification: After I endured a long week at work, the beach invited me to come and enjoy its soft sand, cool breeze, and refreshing water.

For more information on figurative language: