Writers often make use of different types of language to get their points across. In this article, we will look at the difference between figurative and literal language and why writers use figurative language instead of literal language.
Literal Language vs. Figurative Language: What’s the Difference?
What is the big difference between literal and figurative language? And why do writers prefer using figurative language instead of literal language?
The literal language uses words exactly according to their conventionally accepted meanings or denotation. Literal language can be read literally, word for word. It is very straightforward and there is no potential confusion.
It is used in all types of writing, not just instructional texts. But this type of writing can be a bit dry and even boring especially when used in stories and other creative pieces. That’s where figurative language comes into play.
On the other hand, figurative language is more colorful. It is a language that uses words or expressions with a meaning that is different from the literal interpretation. Using this type of language helps writers to easily create word pictures for the readers.
Writers of poetry and prose use this language to elicit emotion, help readers form mental pictures, and draw readers into the work. In order words, when using figurative language, writers are more likely to engage their readers.
It makes fiction writing more dramatic and interesting than the literal language that uses words to refer to statements of fact.
Below are the most common forms of figurative language also called a figure of speech.
Why Do Writers Use Figurative Language Instead of Literal Language?
Answer: Writers use figurative language instead of literal language to add emphasis or clarity, express comparison, and a whole lot of other expressions to make the writing more interesting with the addition of freshness or color.
In order words, writers often use figurative language instead of literal language to paint vivid pictures and make their writing engaging and exciting.
- Make their writing more straightforward.
- Describe things in their writing exactly as they are.
- Remove descriptive details from their writing.
- Make their writing easier to visualize.
Instead of using an exact description of what is happening in the text, figurative language creates comparisons and uses suggestive language to paint a picture in the mind of the reader.
In the end, using figurative language is all geared towards keeping the reader entertained, informed, and hooked.
If you still have any questions regarding why writers use figurative language instead of literal language, feel free to use the comment box below and we will attain to it.
Ekijah Jonah is a management consultant with an MS degree and HR that has spent years writing about human resources.