It’s just a figure of speech…

Figures of speech make language more appealing, help to create vivid images in the listener’s mind. It’s much more expressive.  In this blog I’ll cover how to use a Simile, Metaphor, Hyperhole or Oxymoron to create a figure of speech.

Simile /ˈsɪmɪli/ – A comparison using like or as.

Examples (as):

  • As blind as a bat
  • As bright as a button
  • As busy as a bee
  • As clean as a whistle
  • As dry as a bone
  • As hard as nails
  • As fresh as a daisy
  • As regular as clockwork
  • As tough as old boots

Examples (like):

  • You look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards
  • You’re eating like a pig
  • It runs like a dream
  • They fight like cat and dog
  • We are like two peas in a pod

Metaphor /ˈmet.ə.fɔː/ – is an imaginative way of describing something by referring to something else which is the same in a particular way.


  • You’re a filthy animal
  • All the world’s a stage
  • She shot him down with a look
  • My house is a tip
  • It’s so hot I am melting
  • Their relationship is a rollercoaster
  • Your boss is a monster
  • He had a heart of gold
  • She’s a walking encyclopaedia
  • That’s music to my ears = good to hear

Hyperbole /haɪˈpɜː.bəl.i/  – exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.

Hyperbole examples we use commonly:

  • I am so hungry I could eat a horse = Very hungry
  • This weighs a ton = Very heavy
  • Use of always and never (You never do the washing up / You’re always complaining) = Something is commonly or rarely done
  • It’s taking forever = A long time
  • He’s going to kill me = They will be very angry with me
  • She’s the size of a house = Very large
  • It will take me two seconds = It won’t take long
  • Endless piles of …(laundry, homework, paperwork) = A large amount regularly
  • I’ve told you a thousand times = Many times
  • I’m the happiest man alive = very happy
  • They worked their fingers to the bone = Worked very hard

Oxymoron /ˌɒksɪˈmɔːrɒn/- two words used together that have, or seem to have, opposite meanings.


  • Living dead
  • Deafening silence
  • Be cruel to be kind
  • Sweet agony
  • Agree to disagree
  • Love hate relationship
  • Seriously funny
  • Clearly confused

A figure of speech

We’ve only scraped the surface of this vast subject  here, and looked at just a few common sayings.  You can memorise a few favourites to use in every day life and share them in the comments section below.  To help your revision, you can


Download the lesson notes 


Don’t forget, you will remember much more if you engage your many senses, do watch my video over on the English Like A Native YouTube channel and join the debate in the comment section there.