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Revise Common Figures of Speech

In this worksheet, students will revise some common figures of speech such as alliteration, onomatopoeia, simile, metaphor and personification.

'Revise Common Figures of Speech' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:   Writing

Curriculum subtopic:   Develop Awareness of Literary and Rhetorical Devices

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Basic Figures of Speech

 

Writers use figures of speech to add meaning to the text they're writing. These techniques engage the reader's interest using sound and imagery or by sequencing and contrasting ideas, in order to increase the effectiveness of the writer's words in conveying meaning.

There are many different forms of figures of speech. It's important that you can recognise the most common ones so that you can demonstrate your knowledge and understanding when you are discussing a piece of writing. We are going to take a look at various figures of speech and then test what you have learned.

 

Alliteration

Alliteration is the repetition of the same first sound in a group of words in succession, for emphasis.

For example: 'Everyone knew big, bold Billy from Brighton.'

The repetition of the 'b' sound reinforces our image of Billy and makes the association of 'big', 'bold' and 'from Brighton' more memorable.

 

Onomatopoeia 

This figure of speech applies when the sound reflects sense or meaning. The word sounds like its meaning.

For example:

'The leaves rustled in the wind.' The word 'rustled' conveys the sound leaves make in a breeze.

'Atishoo!'

  

Simile

A simile is a comparison between two things using 'as' or 'like'.

For example:

'She was as cool as a cucumber.' The relaxed attitude of the woman is compared to the low temperature of a cucumber.

'He ate like a horse.'

 

Metaphor

A metaphor compares two dissimilar things but, doesn't use the words 'as' or 'like' to make the comparison. The greater the difference between the two things being compared, the greater the effectiveness of the metaphor. The comparison shows that the different things actually have characteristics in common in the writer's view. A metaphor that is used throughout a piece of text is called an extended metaphor.

For example:

'School is a prison.' In reality, school is not a prison, but in the writer's view, there are similarities.

'My cat is a teddy bear.'

 
Personification

Personification is used to describe when the writer assigns the characteristics of a person to something that isn't human.

For example:

'The Flu was walking down the corridor and sneezing in our faces.' Flu is an illness. It doesn't have emotions and cannot walk or talk, by using personification as if it was a real being, we have a sense of it spreading freely and mocking its victims.

'The fire roared.'

Identify the figure of speech used in each of the phrases below.

 AlliterationOnomatopoeia
'She was beautiful and bold.'
'His engine stuttered.'
'The bird chirped merrily.'
'The cat crept in.'
'It was cheap as chips.'

Identify the figure of speech used in each of the phrases below.

 SimileMetaphorPersonification
'My big chair wraps its arms around me.'
'He has a heart of stone.'
'She was as sharp as a razor.'
'America is a melting pot.'
'His speech went down like a lead balloon.'
'My car let me down.'

Which figures of speech can you identify in the excerpt from the poem 'The Raven' by Edgar Allan Poe? 

 

"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door."

Onomatopoeia

Metaphor

Alliteration

Personification

Select the words below that demonstrate onomatopoeia.

Angel

Breeze

Cat

Howl

Select the phrases below that use metaphor. Choose as many answers as you think are correct.

She was quiet as a nun.

The parrot was lonely.

Hatred is poison.

The bread was solid rock.

Select the sentences that demonstrate personification. Choose as many answers as you think are correct.

Its branches waved to us in the wind.

A roaring fire welcomed us into the room.

The light flickered then died.

The sea's vicious assault sank the boat.

Match the figure of speech with its definition. Hover your mouse over the definitions to see them in full.

Column A

Column B

A comparison using 'like' or 'as'
Alliteration
Repetition of the initial sound in successive word...
Simile
A comparison of unlike things that shows character...
Metaphor
Words that sound like their meanings
Onomatopoeia
Human characteristics are given to describe inanim...
Personification

Read this excerpt from the poem 'Disabled' by Wilfred Owen.

 

"Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
Voices of play and pleasure after day,
Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him."

 

Select the figures of speech that you can find in the extract. Tick as many answers as you find.

Alliteration

Simile

Metaphor

Onomatopoeia

Personification

In this famous quotation from Shakespeare, an excellent example of one figure of speech we have studied is demonstrated.


 
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players
They have their exits and their entrances."


 
Select the figure of speech that is used.

Simile

Metaphor

Personification

  • Question 1

Identify the figure of speech used in each of the phrases below.

CORRECT ANSWER
 AlliterationOnomatopoeia
'She was beautiful and bold.'
'His engine stuttered.'
'The bird chirped merrily.'
'The cat crept in.'
'It was cheap as chips.'
EDDIE SAYS
'Stuttered' and 'chirped' are both words that sound like what they mean and are examples of onomatopoeia. 'Beautiful and bold', 'cat crept' and 'cheap as chips' repeat the same initial consonants for emphasis and are examples of alliteration.
  • Question 2

Identify the figure of speech used in each of the phrases below.

CORRECT ANSWER
 SimileMetaphorPersonification
'My big chair wraps its arms around me.'
'He has a heart of stone.'
'She was as sharp as a razor.'
'America is a melting pot.'
'His speech went down like a lead balloon.'
'My car let me down.'
EDDIE SAYS
A car can't let you down and a chair can't wrap its arms around you since cars and chairs aren't human. The writer has used personification. 'Heart of stone' is a metaphor that creates an image of heartlessness since stone is hard and lifeless, incapable of reacting to the feelings and needs of others. "America is a melting pot" is also a metaphor used to communicate the idea that it is a country full of many different kinds of people mixing together to form one society. 'As sharp as a razor' likens the woman's mental ability to a razor, giving the reader the sense that she's very bright. We realise that the speech wasn't very popular with the audience because it's compared, using 'like', to a lead balloon. Both these comparisons are similes since they use the words 'as' and 'like' to associate the descriptive image. How are you finding these?
  • Question 3

Which figures of speech can you identify in the excerpt from the poem 'The Raven' by Edgar Allan Poe? 

 

"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door."

CORRECT ANSWER
Onomatopoeia
Alliteration
EDDIE SAYS
The words "tapping" and rapping" reflect the sounds they describe and are examples of onomatopoeia. "Nearly napping" is a brief example of alliteration.
  • Question 4

Select the words below that demonstrate onomatopoeia.

CORRECT ANSWER
Breeze
Howl
EDDIE SAYS
"Angel" and "Cat" are nouns and don't contain sounds that reflect their meaning. The 'eez' sound in 'Breeze' does remind you of the sound that might be made by a light wind, and 'Howl' sounds like the noise that might be made when someone howls!
  • Question 5

Select the phrases below that use metaphor. Choose as many answers as you think are correct.

CORRECT ANSWER
Hatred is poison.
The bread was solid rock.
EDDIE SAYS
'She was quiet as a nun' uses 'as' to compare a woman to a nun, making it a simile. 'The parrot was lonely' makes no comparison and is a simple statement of a fact. 'Hatred is poison' is a metaphor that tells us hatred has the same impact upon human relationships that poison has on our bodies. 'The bread was solid rock' is a metaphor, since it compares the bread to solid rock. From this, the reader understands that it is stale and no longer edible.
  • Question 6

Select the sentences that demonstrate personification. Choose as many answers as you think are correct.

CORRECT ANSWER
Its branches waved to us in the wind.
A roaring fire welcomed us into the room.
The light flickered then died.
The sea's vicious assault sank the boat.
EDDIE SAYS
They are all examples of personification. People wave, welcome, die and commit assault. Tree branches, fire, light and the sea have all been given human actions, even though they are not human, to personify them.
  • Question 7

Match the figure of speech with its definition. Hover your mouse over the definitions to see them in full.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

A comparison using 'like' or 'as'
Simile
Repetition of the initial sound i...
Alliteration
A comparison of unlike things tha...
Metaphor
Words that sound like their meani...
Onomatopoeia
Human characteristics are given t...
Personification
EDDIE SAYS
Phew, that was a challenge.
  • Question 8

Read this excerpt from the poem 'Disabled' by Wilfred Owen.

 

"Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
Voices of play and pleasure after day,
Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him."

 

Select the figures of speech that you can find in the extract. Tick as many answers as you find.

CORRECT ANSWER
Alliteration
Simile
Personification
EDDIE SAYS
'Like a hymn' is a simile because it compares the voices of boys to a hymn. 'Play and pleasure after day' uses alliteration since the 'pl' sound is repeated in succession. '...gathering sleep had mothered them from him' personifies sleep as a protective mother. You're making great progress.
  • Question 9

In this famous quotation from Shakespeare, an excellent example of one figure of speech we have studied is demonstrated.


 
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players
They have their exits and their entrances."


 
Select the figure of speech that is used.

CORRECT ANSWER
Metaphor
EDDIE SAYS
The world is compared to a theatrical stage, where people are the actors who enter and exit the stage at times decided by the plot in the drama of life. This is an example of a metaphor. Great work, you've completed another activity! How about attempting another one so you feel super confident?
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