Figurative Languagedoes "Hard" by Rhianna have figurative language?

7 Answers

e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Here's a tip to help you when you are trying to identify figurative language in a text, a song, or anywhere. As you analyze the language being used, ask the simple question, "Is this supposed to be taken literally?" 

The difference between figurative language and literal language is fairly simple most of the time. If language is meant to be understood strictly denotatively then it is literal. If it is used metaphorically then it is figurative.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Figurative language is used often in songs, because it adds poetry and meaning.  For example, "tougher than a lion" automatically makes you begin thinking about lions in relation to the speaker.  You know lions are tough, and you appreciate that the speaker is as well.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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As previous posters have mentioned, some examples of figurative language include "tougher than a lion," "I see you aimin' at my pedestal," but also "ride this beat like a pony." There is power in this song, in the voice of the singer who is refusing to give in to those trying to oppress her. She sees them trying to take her down, but she refuses to yeild. Does that make her hard, which seems to have negative connotation, or does that make her tough, which seems to have a positive connotation?

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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While Rhianna's lyrics are fairly simple, her use of figurative language underscores the fact that people use such language in their everyday speech, and often in reference to such abstract qualities as love, etc.

Here are other examples: 

I'ma rock this _____

Like fashion (simile)

As in going to this Gang stop

And my runway (metaphor for her "path") never looked so clear

auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Yes.  This song "Hard" by Rhianna does, like many lyrics, contain figurative language. Anything that should or could not be taken literally is figurative language.  "Tougher than a lion" is not meant to be taken literally, of course, as I'm sure she has never done anything to test that statement.  It's simply a picture, a comparison.   She says, "I see you aiming at my pedestal," something which, of course, she is not literally standing on at any given moment.  It's a figurative place of prominence.  I'm sure there are more examples if you start looking for yourself.