Monday, July 30, 2007

Figuratively Confused

I posted this over at the ubdeducators wiki, but nobody's said anything yet. I NEED HELP! My figurative language lessons are... not where I want them to be.

I'm still struggling with just what it is I'm supposed to get across to my students and how I should do that. It doesn't help that there are sentences that I look at and I go, " is that figurative, or literal?" Or I'm not sure what TYPE of figurative language I'd call it. I wondered what your thoughts were on the examples I came up with for ones that gave me pause:

He looked like he had seen a ghost.
His smile promised delight impossible to explain in words.
Her brows arched into question marks.
The ocean seemed to stretch to eternity.
Superman is faster than a speeding bullet.

With some of these, I think I know how I'd classify them (figurative/literal? if figurative, what kind?), and why... others I'm quite conflicted on. I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Unknown said...

"He looked like he had seen a ghost." (figurative, simile)

"His smile promised delight impossible to explain in words." (figurative, metaphor)

"Her brows arched into question marks." (figurative, metaphor)

"The ocean seemed to stretch to eternity." (figurative, hyperbole)

"Superman is faster than a speeding bullet." (literal)

Those are my best guesses.

Redkudu said...

"He looked like he had seen a ghost."

I had to think about this one. I think this is one of those tricky hyperboles. Similes generally make a more direct comparison to two unlike things: The road was like a snake through the hills. Road=snake. In this sentence you can't find a direct comparison. He=seen? He=ghost? So I think this might fall under hyperbole for the exaggeration.

"His smile promised delight..."

I'm going to say personification for this one. People can make promises, smiles can't.

I'll have to look at the others more later, but I didn't have any immediate differences of opinion.

Unknown said...

Oh, yep. Personification is a better choice for the second sentence.

I'm still sticking with simile for the first one, though. Hyperbole applies more to the meaning of the sentence rather than the figure of speech used to create that meaning.

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