How to Use Figurative Language to Convey Tone

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    • 1). Use a simile to convey a direct tone and meaning. Similes provide a direct comparison with easily recognizable images. They customarily use a linking word, "as" or "like." For example, "I wandered lonely as a cloud/That floats on high o'er vales and hills..." (from I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, by William Wordsworth).

    • 2). Use a metaphor to convey an evocative tone. Using a metaphor means implying a comparison without using the words "as" or "like"--for example, "Her home was a prison."

    • 3). Create a caustic tone by using irony. Using irony means you imply the opposite of what you are saying. This often produces sarcasm or lighthearted humor. An example of an ironic statement would be the following line from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: '"Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honorable man."

    • 4). Create a vivid tone by using personification. Personification gives human properties to inanimate objects and conveys a warm tone. For example, "Let the rain kiss you/ Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops" (April Rain Song by Langston Hughes).

    • 5). Use hyperbole to create a humorous tone. Hyperbole is an exaggeration made on purpose either to emphasize a point or to make people laugh. For example: "If I've told you once, I've told you a million times..." To create the opposite effect, use understatement--for example, "He was a little peckish" to describe someone wolfing down a meal.

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