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Suzie Cooper

on 19 September 2013

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Figurative Language
Figurative language is a word or phrase that departs from everyday literal language for the sake of comparison, emphasis, clarity, or freshness. Metaphor and simile are the two most commonly used figures of speech, but things like allusion, assonance, metonymy, hyperbole, and personification are also figures of speech.
The repetition of sounds, especially initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words.

Why Writers Use it:
It can help connect ideas, make sentences memorable or sound musical. When overused, it can also be cloying or irritating.
A direct or indirect reference to something historical, literary, religious, or mythical. The author usually uses references that will be understood by his or her audience, such as an event, book, myth, place, or work of art. You can also make allusions to pop culture.

Why Writers Use It:

Allusions can help people see unique connections between two ideas. The reference can help the audience better understand a subject. Allusions can also be surprising and funny, and are a favorite tool for rappers to prove their extensive knowledge of many topics.

In other words: dropping good allusions will make you sound smart.
The repetition of vowel sounds in words that are close together.
HINT: the word assonance has assonance because the two “a”s make the same sound.

Why Writers Use it:

Connecting vowel sounds creates internal rhyme. It makes the words flow together, and can help make phrases more memorable. It’s very popular amongst rappers and lyricists, and you’ll be more likely to find it in poetry rather than prose. You can find it in pretty much any (good) song. And, as noted, it will make you sound smooth. Assonance is also known as a “slant rhyme.
When the name of one object replaces another object that is closely associated with it. It comes from the Greek word metōnymía, meaning “change of name.”

Why Writers Use it:
Metonymy can often allow writers and speakers to refer to complicated concepts or large groups of people with a single world. It also helps to create a quick mental image by using everything that the metonym evokes.
Examples of Assonance in Hip-Hop

“My rhymes acid and yours asinine.”

“Every minute they in it, don’t need every illiterate ignorant critical dissed it…” -R.A. the Rugged Man

“I bomb atomically—Socrates’ philosophies and hypotheses can’t define how I be droppin’ these mockeries.”
-Inspectah Deck

“Dead in the middle of little Italy, little did we know that we riddled two middle men who didn’t do diddily.”
-Big Pun
For example -
It was easier for President Obama to say,

“We cannot only have a plan for Wall Street…We must also help Main Street.”


We cannot only have a plan for wealthy bankers and moneyed financial institutions…We must also help the average person who is more likely to live in a small town and not own a yacht.

A purposeful exaggeration or overstatement. In Greek, it literally means to overshoot.

Why Writers Use It:
Even though the statement might not be exactly true, hyperbole can create emphasis or also make something sound funny.
Hip-Hop Hyperbole Examples

“If you cats wore my chain for a month you’d be hunchback.” - Cassidy

“I’m the best that ever did it the best that’s gone’ do it.” -Cassidy

“I’m so ahead of my time my parents haven’t met yet.” -Big L

When an author gives objects, concepts or animals human characteristics, emotions or abilities.

Why Writers Use It:

Personification can make non-human objects and ideas more relatable, since it is easier for humans to relate to another person than, say, a mop. It can also make objects or ideas seem more vivid.
Songs with Personification
Can you find an example of personification in
"The Sorcerer's Apprentice"?

A simile is a comparison of two things, almost always using the words like or as.
Extreme Alliteration
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