How to Use Figurative Language in Essay Writing

How to Use Figurative Language in Essay Writing
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Many writers use figurative language to make their writing more interesting and personal. Figurative language implies using words that make your readers paint a picture in their mind. For example, common tools of figurative language include alliteration, metaphors, onomatopoeia, and hyperbole. If you want to use figurative language in your essay, check out these tips at

Mark Mediocre Words

When the first draft of your essay is ready, highlight phrases and words that are boring or overused. For example, you might want to replace such words as:

  • Good;
  • Bad;
  • Many;
  • Fun;
  • Sad;
  • A lot;
  • Big;
  • … and a lot more.

These words are not bad but they are quite boring and don’t allow your readers to paint a clear picture because they depend on interpretation.

Don’t Tell — Show

Once you’ve highlighted all the words and phrases that you would like to replace, it’s time to choose other words and phrases that will provide more sensory details. Use metaphors and vivid imagery so that your readers can visualize the things you’re writing about.

Keep It Natural

Don’t overuse figurative language. It should be a natural part of your writing. If you overuse figurative language, your essay will look like a poor attempt to impress the audience. In addition, don’t try to use all the types of figurative language in one paper.


To use figurative language in the right way, you need to practice. We also recommend that you read more descriptive literature to see how figurative language is used by successful authors.

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