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Reading Comprehension 11 - Figures of Speech 3
"The steak was as tender as a leather shoe." This is a statement of verbal irony.

Reading Comprehension 11 - Figures of Speech 3

In the previous two Upper Primary English quizzes on reading comprehension we learnt about different figures of speech. In this quiz we will look at some more, specifically irony, personification and idioms.

Idioms are used to put forth a message more forcefully. An idiom is an expression whose literal meaning is not what the expression wants to convey. Here are some examples:

“Does he have an axe to grind?” This does not mean that he is going to grind an axe! The actual meaning is to have a dispute or disagreement with someone.

“Actions speak louder than words.” This idiom means that a person can be judged better by his actions rather than what he utters.

Personification is defined as attributing an ability or trait of humans to an idea, concept or non-humans. Take a look at these examples:

“The flowers danced in the grass.” This phrase means that the flowers were swaying in the grass and we have used the human ability of dancing to describe what flowers do.

“The sun kissed the ocean.” This means that as the sun was setting it touched the ocean’s horizon and this is described in the form of a kiss.

Irony is yet another figure of speech that stands out here there is a stark contrast to what is said and what it really means. Here are some examples:

“His argument was as clear as mud.” This means that the argument was untenable and is compared to mud, which is definitely not clear!

“Marriage is the leading cause of divorce.” This is also ironic as if there is no marriage there can be no divorce. Irony can be classified as situational irony, verbal irony, dramatic irony or coincidental irony depending upon the context in which it is used.

Figures of speech are great embellishments of the English language and, when used creatively, can convey messages very aptly and with telling effect. Take the quiz that follows and learn more about irony, personification and idioms.
1.
Choose the example that is NOT personification from the following options.
This sofa is as comfortable as sitting on nails.
My girlfriend is so beautiful the camera loves her.
Her dahlias were begging for water.
The hail storm pounded the roads and homes.
Option 1 is an example of verbal irony. The other options are examples of personification and here the camera, flowers and the hail storm are presented as having qualities normally associated with humans
2.
Choose the example that is an idiom from the following options.
Yogaraj Singh's bowling performance was just a flash in the pan.
The UNICEF chief does not have children.
The vacuum cleaner hums a happy tune while it cleans.
The storm raged.
'A flash in the pan' is an idiom which means something which shows initial potential and peters out later. Option 2 is an example of situational irony. Options 3 and 4 are examples of personification
3.
Choose the example of verbal irony from the following options.
A police station gets robbed.
Two people are bosom friends but the audience knows one of them is going to kill the other.
A marriage counsellor files for divorce.
Looking at his salesman's poor record, the manager says, "Wow, you could win an award for performance."
Verbal irony is when you say something opposite of what you mean or when something is not really the truth. Verbal irony is often sarcasm. Options 1 and 3 are examples of situational irony. Option 2 is an example of dramatic irony
4.
Choose the example that is NOT personification from the following options.
My old jalopy complained as I tried to start it.
His alarm clock yells at him every morning.
He is as polite as a shark.
Their ancestral home is a friend that protects the entire family.
Option 3 is an example of verbal irony. The other options are examples of personification and here the jalopy (car), alarm clock and home are presented as having qualities associated with humans
5.
Choose the example that is an idiom from the following options.
My motorcycle's headlights winked at me.
He is trying to be a good Samaritan.
Time and tide wait for no-one.
The cactus in the desert saluted us as we raced past.
An idiom is an expression whose literal meaning is not what the expression wants to convey. A person who helps someone in need with no thought of a reward is known as a good Samaritan, despite not coming from Samaria! The other options are examples of personification
6.
Choose the example that is NOT verbal irony from the following options.
He's as nice to her as a lion to its prey.
This chair is as comfortable as sitting on nails.
A thin person is called a 'fatty'.
A fat person is called a 'fatty'.
There is no irony in a fat person being called a fatty! The other options are all examples of verbal irony
7.
Choose the example that is NOT personification from the following options.
John Grisham's latest book was so popular, it flew off the shelves
The door groaned as it opened slowly.
The wind howled in the night.
Soft like brick.
Personification is defined as attributing an ability or trait of humans to an idea or concept or non-humans. Here a strong wind is described as a person's howling, a door is supposed to groan and a book is supposed to fly. Soft like a brick is an example of verbal irony
8.
Choose the example that is an idiom from the following options.
A grocery salesman buys his groceries from a rival shop.
A woman who tweets complains that Twitter is useless.
A policeman's house gets robbed.
Let sleeping dogs lie.
'Let sleeping dogs lie' is an idiom which means to avoid disturbing someone lest you create some conflict. The other options are examples of situational irony
9.
Choose the example that is NOT situational irony from the following options.
A sailor has fear of water.
The steak was as tender as a leather shoe.
A fertility expert is unable to conceive for herself.
A mountain climber has a fear of heights.
Situational irony is when an event does not happen when it should have or is not what one would expect. Often it is irony of events and the event could be humorous or serious. Option 2 is an example of verbal irony
10.
Choose the example of dramatic irony from the following options.
In a spine-chilling drama, a character thinks the killer is dead but the audience knows the killer is alive.
A fire station burns down.
An anti-technology website.
A person in need of medical assistance is run over by the ambulance.
Dramatic irony is usually when the audience knows something about present or future circumstances that the character does not know. Options 2 and 4 are examples of situational irony. Option 3 is an example of verbal irony
Author:  V T Narendra

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