Writing techniques

What Are The Main Figures Of Speech In Poetry

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. Updated: March 30, 2017
What Are The Main Figures Of Speech In Poetry

Figures of speech are formed by a set of words that come together causing alterations in the traditional syntax so to emphasise, exalt feelings or provoke an idea. There are a wide range of figures of speech but here we want to show the essential ones used in English poerty. In OneHowTo.com we underline what the most important figures of speech in poetry are.

Steps to follow:


The metaphor is one of the main figures of speech, that expresses a word with a different meaning to its usual significance but where there is a similarity between them. A real term is identified with something imaginary.


  • Your eyes are suns.
  • Time is a thief.
  • He broke my heart.

The synecdoche is a figure of speech used to express a part of something as a whole; conversely, it may also be that it expresses the whole as a part.


  • I will write him a few words (a letter).
  • The sails (ships) could be seen from the horizon
  • You need to earn your bread (food-money)

Another of the main figures of speech is synonymia which consists in the accumulated use of synonyms, which also draws on functions similar to those of rhetoric repetition. The aim is to specify and greatly emphasise descriptions.


  • Obstinate, fierce and villainous.
  • You always look beautiful, perfect, untouchable and ideal.

There is a figure of speech that we also use frequently in day to day life: irony. This is used to express the contrary of what we realy want to say, emphasizing a false or funny tone.


  • I love spending an hour waiting for someone!
  • The smell of trash is really delicious
What Are The Main Figures Of Speech In Poetry - Step 4

The hyperbole is a figure of speech consisting of exaggerating one aspect of reality in order to achieve greater expressiveness, to exalt expressions. Thus, it can be used to express despair or intrigue or for comic effect.


  • The bag weighed a ton
  • My heart shrinks every time she talks

The chiasmus is used in a group of verses and can be used to reverse the order of a word to find another meaning to the next sentence or emphasise the first one.


  • Many that are first shall be last, many that are last shall be first.
  • Beauty is truth, truth is beauty.

The epithet is a figure of speech that unnecessarily adds adjectives intended to describe, but in reality they do not add anything. Take a look at how to write an epithet about yourself for more information.


  • The green grass and the blue sky.
  • Upon the sweetest flower of all the field.

With allegory, what is done is to represent figuratively an idea through beings which can be animate, human, fictitious, etc..


  • The waves of the sea alone.
  • The flowers danced to the sound of the wind.
What Are The Main Figures Of Speech In Poetry - Step 8

The paradox is also very popular, it's a contradictory expression that is presented when we put two opposed concepts together but can, however, create a sentence that invites analysis and reflection.


  • The more I see the less I know.
  • Be realistic, do the impossible.

If you want to read similar articles to What Are The Main Figures Of Speech In Poetry, we recommend you visit our Learning category.


  • In any literature manual you can find detailed information.
  • You will especially find these figures in poetry.
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What did you think of this article?
mid pleasure and places though we many roam
Oso Oluwaseyi
What is the figue of speech in They call them a pack of Parasites, Feeding off the gurgling ventricles of others?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Oso,
The figure of speech is an allegory. Hope this helps
1) renders the bloated rich, more rich - what is figure of Speech 2) Amighty future stands before us - what is figure of Speech from a poem of 10th standard English Poem Let us salute Republic Day Could u please help me to find out
The first must be repetition and the second is an allegory I think
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What Are The Main Figures Of Speech In Poetry