Identify the figure of speech in the following sentence: The teeth of the shark are like knives.
a) Alliteration b) Metaphor c) Simile d) Personification
Hint: The given sentence contains the word ‘like’ and it makes an indirect comparison between two things. This will help you narrow down the options.
Complete answer: Let’s deconstruct the sentence and understand exactly what it means: It says that the teeth that sharks have are comparable to knives. It makes an indirect comparison between ‘teeth of shark’ and ‘knives’, with the help of the word ‘like’. Now, we know the peculiarity in the sentence.
We now know the meaning of the given sentence. Let’s look at the available options:
a) Alliteration - Alliteration is the conspicuous repetition of identical initial consonant sounds in successive or closely associated syllables within a group of words, even those spelled differently. For example, ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers’. This figure of speech is usually used in poetry. However, there is no repetition of consonant sounds in the given question. So, this is an incorrect option.
b) Metaphor - A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. It is a direct comparison. For example, Life is a journey. Here, life is directly compared to a journey. It does not use additional words to make the comparison. There is no direct comparison in the question. So, this is an incorrect option.
c) Simile - A simile is a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid (e.g. as brave as a lion ). This makes an indirect comparison between two things, exactly like the question. So, the correct answer is “Option c”.
d) Personification - Personification is the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something non-human, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form. However, in the given question, there is no inanimate object that has been assigned a human quality. So, this is an incorrect option.
Note: Try to look for things that are peculiar to one particular figure of speech. Then, try to understand what the sentence means. This will lead you to the correct option.