Literal vs. Figurative Language

Literal vs. Figurative
Literal and Figurative
There are two ways to understand our
spoken communication:
1. Literal Language
2. Figurative Language
Literal Language
To write or say something that means its actual
It states exactly what it means
It stays the same all the time
Literal Language Example
Figurative Language Example
I spent $30 on video games
I spent a ton of money on
video games today.
I’m really hungry.
I could eat a cow!
Figurative Language
•Words or phrases that mean something different than what
it actually says
•Figurative is an antonym (means the opposite) of literal
•It is language that your brain has to FIGURE out
Figurative Language
•There is room for
•It does NOT mean exactly
what it sounds like
•A person has to make a 'smart'
guess based on what is
happening in the environment or
with the person when the
language is being used
Figurative language in songs:
Figurative language in movies/TV shows:
Idioms in Shows: (0.20-1.00)
Literal and Figurative:
Show me what Idioms you know
• Complete worksheet independently
Literal Language
Example: A Piece of Cake
Figurative Language
Walter and Dennis are high school students.
They're talking about a recent math test they took.
Walter: "What did you think about that math exam
Dennis: "I think that it was pretty easy.”
Walter: "Ya, it only took me 15 minutes to finish.”
Dennis: "Me too. I was finished in no time.”
Walter: "The exam sure could have been a lot more difficult.”
Dennis: "True, but I'm glad that it was a piece of cake!"
Figurative Language
Example: A Piece of Cake
A simple task that is easily accomplished.
Literal Language
Figurative Language
Example: Raining Cats & Dogs
It is raining very hard.
Literal Language
Example: Ants in Your Pants
Figurative Language
Nancy's 8 year-old son has ants in his
pants because he is going to his first
football game tomorrow. He’s so excited.
Robert had ants in his pants because he
had a presentation to give in his business
Figurative Language
Example: Ants in your Pants
Not being able to sit still because you are
very excited or worried about something
Literal Language
Example: An Arm and A Leg
Figurative Language
Ex: These Patriots tickets cost us
an arm and a leg!
Figurative Language
Example: An Arm & A Leg
To be very expensive.
Once in a blue moon
A penny for your thoughts
Deer in the headlights
Figurative Language in…
• Commercials:
• Activity: Happy as a …….
Find Figurative Language in Songs
• Eye of the Tiger
1. Identify one idiom
Give a literal and figurative representation
Determine the meaning of each idiom
2. Pick a song
Identify 3-5 idioms
Determine the meaning of each idiom
Optional: Suggest a clip/show that uses an

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