What is comparative figurative language?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Comparative figurative language is a term used to refer to any figurative language a writer uses to express a point by comparing objects to other objects. The metaphor, simile, personification, and apostrophe are all types of comparative figurative language.

Writers use both the metaphor and simile to draw comparisons between objects in order to express a point. The difference between the two lies in their wording. In a metaphor, a writer draws a comparison by saying that one object is another object. Dr. Wheeler gives us the example "the ladder of success," which is a statement that compares success to a ladder by calling it a ladder (Carson-Newman University, "Tropes"). In contrast, in a simile, a writer draws a comparison by saying that an object is like another object. Similes will contain either the word like or as to draw the comparison. Dr. Wheeler gives us the example, "Her skin was like alabaster."

The devices personification and apostrophe also have their similarities. Personification is used when writers give inanimate objects or abstract concepts human characteristics. In doing so, the writer compares the inanimate object to a human in order to express a point, making personification a clear example of comparative figurative language. Dr. Wheeler gives us the example, "The ground thirsts for rain," showing us how the dry ground is being compared to a thirsty human being. Apostrophe is another form of personification. The difference is that, in an apostrophe, either the writer or a character in the text addresses the inanimate object or abstract concept as if it where a human being standing before the writer or character. Dr. Wheeler gives us the example, "Oh, Death, be not proud," which shows us how the writer compared death to a proud human being and addressed the abstract concept of death as if it were a human being who could respond.

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