Words

Difference Between Literal Language and Figurative Language

Main difference

One might have heard of both the literal and figurative terms together, as they are quite interrelated. As a language, literal and figurative language has a great impact on our daily lives and also has a lot to do with literature. Literal language is language that represents exactly the same thing as one has said, since the words in it are used according to the precise definition or proper meanings. In other words, we can say that it is the simplest form of language where the words mean exactly the same as what is being said. On the other hand, figurative language is the language that does not mean exactly as it was said, it is complex and can have a hidden meaning that can only be understood by someone who is familiar with the roots of the language.

Comparison chart

literal nguage figurative language
Sense Literal language is the simplest language that says exactly what it means. Figurative language is complex and can have a hidden meaning that can only be understood by someone who is familiar with the roots of the language.
Use Literal language is used in technical or legal documents as they are simple and easy to understand and can carry an easy and clear message to the reader. Figurative language is used in literature to entertain the reader and also to grab attention.
figures of speech No Personification, metaphor, idioms, irony and others

What is literal language?

Literal language is the simplest language that says exactly what it means. It represents the real words and has no complexities or hidden meanings. The adopter of the particular language can even easily understand the literal language as it is based on the proper meanings and precise definitions of the words. Literal language is used in technical or legal documents as they are simple and easy to understand and can carry an easy and clear message to the reader. Even the vocabulary used is quite appropriate and gets a single interpretation in the mind of the reader. Words that are open to more than one interpretation or expressions that have the meaning hidden beneath the actual words are strongly avoided in literal language. In our daily life, while communicating with each other, we also use literal language as it conveys the real message and is easily understood by the receiver. It eliminates a lot of the communication problems and is quite useful.

What is figurative language?

Figurative language is language that does not mean exactly as stated, is complex, and may have a hidden meaning that can only be understood by someone who is familiar with the roots of the language. Most prominently, figurative language is used in literature to entertain the reader and also to grab attention. Figurative language often works as the sharp in the expression since it makes it more extensive and complex. The one affiliated with literature possesses deep thoughts and has a complex idea of ​​things, figurative language works as a pure pleasure for such people, although the one who does not know the deep roots of the language may even fail to induce the meaning of the sentence. Figures of speech like personification, metaphor, idioms, irony are used in figurative language. Therefore, one thing must be clear: they cannot be translated literally and only the native speaker or the expert can translate them into any other language. For example, the idiom ‘It is raining dogs and cats’ would not be creating any meaning if we are guided by the literal meaning, but in the figurative, it is an expression that refers to the occurrence of heavy rains.

Literal vs Figurative Language

  • Literal language is the simplest language that says what it means, on the other hand, figurative language is the language that does not mean exactly as it was said, it is complex and may have a hidden meaning that can only be understood by the familiar. with language roots.
  • Figures of speech like personification, metaphor, idioms, irony are used in figurative language.
  • Literal language is used in technical or legal documents as they are simple and easy to understand and can carry an easy and clear message to the reader, while figurative language is used in literature to entertain the reader and also to draw attention. .

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