Difference between Literal and Figurative Language

Main Difference – Literal vs. Figurative Language

Literal and figurative are two words that we often see in relation back to language and writing. In speech study, these words act as antonym, i.e. they have the opposite meanings. Literal language is saying exactly what you mean while figurative language is more elaborate and uses literary techniques or figures of speech like hyperbole, personification, metaphors, etc. In this article, we are going to look at the main difference between the literal and figural speech in astuteness .

What is Literal Language

This is the type of language we speak most of the time. The words in a literal conviction, give out their dictionary meaning. literal linguistic process expresses thoughts and ideas in a clear and specific manner. They do not deviate from the accept mean. thus, it is easily to understand misprint linguistic process. This character of language is frequently used to deliver crucial data and is used in writing scientific, technical and legal documents .
difference between figurative and literal

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What is Figurative Language

figurative language is a terminology that uses words or expressions with a meaning that is different from the literal interpretation. For exemplar, look at the sentence ‘ rain cats and dogs ’. This does not mean that cats and dogs are falling from the flip. This actually means that it ’ mho raining heavily .
figurative speech is more elaborate than literal speech, and this type of writing is commonly used in works of literature. A writer uses figures of actor’s line like similes, metaphors, personification, hyperbole, paradox, etc. to make the language more elaborate and figural. Some examples of figural speech and the figures of speech are given below .
Idiom ( an formula that has a figural meaning unrelated to the literal mean of the phrase. )
“ She drowned her sorrows in alcohol. ”
Metaphor ( a human body of speech used in comparison )
“ He is the apple of her eye. ”
Oxymoron  ( two words having opposite meanings are used together )
“ She felt that it was prison term for this bittersweet kinship to end. ”
Hyperbole ( hyperbole )
“ You scared me to death. ”
Simile ( compares two things )
“ Her eyes were like the deep pools to her soul. ”

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Personification ( giving human characteristics to a inanimate thing )
“ The previous man waited for Death to come to him. ”
literal vs figurative languge.

Difference Between Literal Language and Figurative Language


Literal language uses words that are in rigid agreement with their original meanings .
Figurative language uses words or expressions with meanings that are unlike from the literal interpretation .


Literal language is used in documents that contain direct information. ( Examples ; Legal, technical documents )
Figurative language is normally used in literature .


Literal language is used in both talk and written lyric .
Figurative language is rarely used in speak speech .


Literal language is frequently simpleton, steer and consequently, the readers find it easy to understand .
Figurative language can be complex and morsel unmanageable to understand .

Figures of speech

Literal language does not use figures of lecture .
Figurative language uses figures of actor’s line.

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Literal language expresses ideas in a simpleton, specific manner .
Figurative language expresses ideas in a obscure manner .