Reading Comprehension 09 - Figures of Speech 1
This Upper Primary English quiz is all about figures of speech, in particular similes, euphemisms and paradoxes.
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Can you recall this famous quote? It is credited to Muhammad Ali, the well know heavyweight boxer of the 1960-80 period. He was talking about his skills in the ring. He could dance around the opponent to ward of his blows, just like a butterfly. His own punches hit the opponent and hurt him, just as a bee’s sting would. This quote is an example of a simile.
Similes make use of the words ‘as’ and ‘like’ to compare two disparate things with a common feature between them. A simile is an example of a figure of speech. A figure of speech may be defined in many ways and one of them is the use of words in an innovative manner.
Euphemisms are another example of a figure of speech and are the use of alternate words to replace words which may sound rude, offensive or inappropriate in a particular context. Here are some examples:
‘He has kicked the bucket,’ or ‘He has passed away.’ Both of these phrases mean the same thing, which is ‘he has died.’
‘He has lost his marbles,’ is another euphemism which means ‘he is mad.’
Paradoxes are another example of a figure of speech. A paradox presents contradictory ideas in an interesting and engaging manner that immediately attracts the reader or a listener. For example:
‘Don't go near the water until you've learned to swim.’ This is a paradoxical statement. If you don’t get into the water you cannot learn to swim! One of the best examples of a paradox is Oscar Wilde’s use of the phrase - ‘I can resist anything but temptation.’
Similes, euphemisms and paradoxes are literary devices used to present ideas in an interesting and innovative manner. There are various other figures of speech such as hyperbole, metaphor, proverb, irony, personification and idiom and these will be explained in the subsequent quizzes.