5-13 Figurative and Literal Language

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Whether spoken or written, language can be expressed in several different ways.  Literal language is expressed exactly as you mean it.  Figurative language is a more imaginative and colorful way to say what you mean.  Scientists and mathematicians use literal language.  Their words need to be clear and exact.  Poets use figurative language to help us better understand the words they are trying to convey to the reader.

Literal: The boat glided through the water.

Figurative: The boat cut through the water.


Literal: I'm hungry.

Figurative: I'm so hungry I could eat a horse.


Directions: Determine whether each sentence is an example of literal or figurative language.  Answer literal or figurative.
The baby is crying loudly.
The kite floated in the air.
The campfire was burning brightly.
The sunglasses reflected the image.
The gymnast floated through her entire routine.
Her eyes reflected a message of understanding.
The anthills were as big as mountains.
The mosquitoes were in the bushes.
Christmas songs floated through the air.
Geese sound like trumpets blaring in a concert.
The fog was as thick as pea soup.
We saw the fiery ashes come out of  the chimney.



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Literal or Figurative