Praxis Elementary Education Exam—Figurative Language

By Carla C. Kirkland, Chan Cleveland

You will probably be tested on figurative language in the Praxis Elementary Education exam. While your students may not use figurative language in their academic writing, they will when writing prose and poetry.

Here are some figurative language terms that you should be familiar with for the exam:

  • Alliteration—Repetition of the initial consonant sounds (for example, such sweet sorrow)
  • Hyperbole—Exaggeration (for example, my tears could fill an ocean)
  • Imagery—Descriptions that appeal to the senses
  • Metaphor—A direct comparison (without the word like or as), such as my love is a rose
  • Onomatopoeia—Words that sound like what they represent, such as boom or squish
  • Oxymoron—An apparent contradiction, such as a loud silence
  • Personification—Giving human qualities to something that isn’t human, such as a kind rainfall
  • Simile—A comparison (weaker than a metaphor) that uses the words like or as, such as my love is like a rose
  • Symbol—Something used to represent something else

Practice question

  1. During a discussion after reading one of Aesop’s fables to first-graders, a teacher asks the students, “Can mice and lions really talk?” Discussion of students’ answers to this question is likely to help the teacher introduce students to which type of figurative language?
    A. personification
    B. onomatopoeia
    C. metaphor
    D. simile

Answer and explanation

  1. The correct answer is Choice (A).
    This question requires an understanding of ways to promote comprehension of figurative language. Personification is figurative language that imparts human characteristics, such as speaking, to nonhuman objects or animals. Choice (B) is incorrect because onomatopoeia is figurative language that involves using words that sound similar to their meanings. Choices (C) and (D) are incorrect because similes and metaphors are figurative language used to make comparisons.