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How to Construct a Paragraph in Figurative Language


A paragraph is a group of sentences about the same topic. Typically, the first sentence introduces the topic and subsequent sentences expand on it, give background and add information. Figurative language is a way to describe something in words that are not literally true and is widely used in both poetry and everyday speech. There are several forms of figurative language, the main types being simile, metaphor, personification, apostrophe, overstatement and understatement. Choose those which best suit your purpose.

Figures of Speech

Decide on a topic for your paragraph – “Winter in Alaska,” for instance.

Remember there is a lot to describe and only a few short sentences to do it in, so figurative language, or figures of speech, is essential to make a powerful impression.

Use a simile (saying one thing is similar to another) to introduce the topic dramatically in the first sentence. For instance, “Winter in Alaska is like living for months in a refrigerator.”

Expand on this in the second sentence, using a metaphor for emphasis. A metaphor is a figure of speech which compares two things by suggesting one thing is the same as the other. The things compared are usually unalike. For instance, “Alaska is a giant’s ice cream bucket.”

Develop this idea of coldness further with other figures of speech.

Further Figures of Speech

Give your topic human characteristics. This is called personification and would go something like “The Alaskan wind screams in your ears and slaps you in the face with icy hands.”

Talk directly to the weather. That’s a figure of speech called apostrophe. An example would be “You cold and dark months aren’t going to get me down.”

Bring the paragraph to a conclusion with a dramatic overstatement, which makes a point by exaggerating it. You could say, “If I lived here for a thousand years, I’d never get used to the cold.”

About the Author

Peter Staples has been writing professionally since 1965, in journalism and public relations. He has worked for “The Times," BBC online and other outlets in England, plus Australian newspapers “Sydney Morning Herald” and "Melbourne Age." Staples holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and history from the U.K.’s Open University.

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