Examination Candidates Guide – 28 Figure of Speech

Examination Candidates Guide – 28 Figure of Speech

It is important that candidates preparing for NECO, JAMB, WAEC and GCE Examination should be able to identify the type of figure of speech in the sentence or they may be asked in the exam to differentiate them from each other.

Examination Candidates Guide - 28 Figure of Speech



Therefore, Figure of Speech play a major role in making a sentence, It perfects the grammar both a speaker and a listener.



  • IRONY: This is an expression which means the opposite of what was I the mind of the speaker in or the writer e.g Mira is always regular in class. (Whereas She is always absent from school).
  • METAPHOR: This is the direct comparison of two things without the element of simile such as: like and as etc e.g
    • Sarah is a cat in the goal post
    • Robert is a monkey
  • PERSONIFICATION: This is the conferment of human qualities on inanimate things e.g
    • The dish ran away with the spoon
    • The moon smiled at the sunset
  • PARADOX: This is a contradictory statement e.g
    • The longer the time the shorter the life
    • The more the effort, the less the energy
  • HYPERBOLE: This has to do with exaggeration without literal meaning e.g
    • His eyes are starry
    • He has an elephant voice
  • PROLEPSIS: This speaks about future with an expression of optimism e.g
    • I will take the first position in the class this term
  • SYNECDOCHE: It is the representation of a part by a part e.g
    • A Nigeria footballer is a star (this does not mean one footballer but every footballer)
  • EPIGRAM: A brief speech or writing with some contradiction e.g
    • He was slow but not a lazy man
  • ALLITERATION: A poetic pattern of speech with similar consonant sound at the beginning of two or more words relating to each other e.g
    • sweetly sing the singers
  • INNUENDO: It is an indirect way of making bitting remark e.g
    • By his statement, he is not unconnected with
  • SYMBOLISM: It is the way of using a symbol to convey information e.g
    • In the Nigerian coat of arms, the eagle represents strength while the horse represents dignity
  • METONYMY: This is a statement in which an object associated with a person or a position for the description of the same person e.g
    • The pen is equal to the hoe. This means that education and agriculture are of equal importance
  • CHIASMUS: This is the reversal of words in a sentence e.g
    • If the sun does not go to the sea, the sea should go to the sun
  • EUPHEMISM: This is a polite way of making a statement about an unpleasant thing e.g
    • His father is dead
  • CLIMAX: This expression ideas in ascending order e.g
    • Stop, look, listen before you crossed the road
    • In a large house, there is iron, bronze, silver and gold
  • ANTI-CLIMAX: This is the reverse o climax e.g
    • The best footballer had a better chance to make a good performance
  • EPILOGUE: At the end of a play in a drama, the concluding part of the poem is an Epilogue
  • LITOTES: An expression of a negative aspect of a matter or contrary mood of a person e.g
    • He is not the best in the class, meaning he is below average
  • OXYMORON: This is a situation where contradictory words are used in a sentence e.g
    • Action speaks louder than a word
  • ASSONANCE: This is a situation where the same vowel sound is repeated in succession e.g
    • Twinkle, Twinkle little star
  • ONOMATOPOEIA: This describes the object due to the sound produced e.g
    • Ding Dong Bell
    • He runs like a dog
  • SIMILE: This indicates the comparison of two things using like or as e.g
    • As slow as a snail
    • He runs like a dog
  • ARTHROPOMORPHISMS: Comparing God to man. This means describing God by giving Him human characteristics. Some parts of the human body are used in this case e.g
    • The mouth of the Lord
    • Eyes of the Lord
    • Ear of the Lord
  • APOSTROPHE: This is applied where is a strong emotion e.g
    • personal thing
  • ANTITHESIS: This adds weight to a statement with some elements of contrast eg
    • One man’s meat is another man’s poison
  • THE RHETORICAL QUESTION: Is an effective statement which is being put in form of question e.g
    • Why goat eats grass
  • ALLEGORY: This is a metaphor, put in an expanded form. just as parable expanded in simile e.g
    • mind-set, Holy war, Mouthpiece. just as a speaker of a gathering regarded as the mouthpiece of the function
    • Was the service discharged? yes
    • Who knows tomorrow? No one but God
  • SARCASM: Utter contemptuous words not openly but by implication. Innuendo is a mild sarcasm. Giving a matter instead of saying it openly. This is when a negative is placed before a word to indicate opposite in meaning e.g
    • The action of drivers on the highway is not uncommon behaviour to police. It means that the action of the driver is common to police on highway
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