6th Grade - Figurative Language And Words With Multiple Meaning

Figurative language and words with multiple meaning
Identify and interpret figurative language and words with multiple meanings.
Be able to recognize and explain the meaning of a) figurative language (words used to express more than their dictionary meaning) and b) words that have more than one meaning

Sample Problems


What do these expressions have in common: “I was so happy, I felt as high as a kite.” “I was as hungry as a bear.” (Both use words in non-literal ways; both are similes)


What do these expressions have in common: “You’re the apple of my eye.” “Life is a game – play hard.” (Both use words in non-literal ways; both are metaphors)


What does it mean to say a person is “blue”? Can the word “blue” have more than one meaning?


Why do writers use words in this way?


What would literature and music lyrics be like if you could only use words literally?


Use a dictionary to define the words simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification.

Learning Tips


Listen to Nelly Furtado song “I’m Like a Bird” (lyrics at http://www.poemhunter.com/song/i-m-like-a-bird/). Children identify simile and list other songs using similes.


Listen to Bette Midler song “The Rose” (lyrics at http://www.poemhunter.com/song/the-rose-3/). Children identify metaphors and list other songs using metaphors.


Read Shakespeare’s Sonnet XVIII (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”, available at http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/18.html). Discuss sonnet’s meaning, find similes and metaphors.


Using “Mad Libs” style (see samples at http://www.wordlibs.com/) complete a fun activity filling in missing words for similes and metaphors: “You’re as beautiful as a (noun.)” “My love for you is a red, red (noun.)” Discuss why some words work better than others in figurative language.


Write a list of multiple-meaning words on the board such as “raise,” “ruler,” “time,” “refined,” “period.” See how these words can be used differently in context, or even try using both in the same sentence (e.g. “I didn’t raise you to speak without raising your hand!”

Extra Help Problems


Print Figures of Speech list from http://specialed.about.com/od/literacy/a/figurative.htm. Have your child choose a few figures of speech to define and illustrate.


Go through a family photo album and choose some figurative language to describe what you see.


Print out the lyrics to the Nelly Furtado song and then write your own version using a different animal as the simile (“I’m like a frog, I like to hop away…”)


For the following 10 sentences, identify if sentence contains

Simile, Metaphor,  Hyperbole, or Personification by writing the first letter on the line.

   _____ 1.  The wind whistled through the trees. (P)

   _____ 2.  I am so hungry I could eat a horse. (H)

   _____ 3.  She was as quiet as a mouse. (S)

   _____ 4.  I have told you a million times. (H)

   _____ 5.  His face was an open book. (M)

   _____ 6.  He is as strong as an ox. (H, S)

   _____ 7.  The stars looked down from the sky. (P)

   _____ 8.  Her smile is a ray of bright sunshine. (M)

   _____ 9.  His bedroom is a pig’s sty. (M)

_____10. She was pretty as a picture in her new dress. (S)

(for more examples, see http://frank.mtsu.edu/~mjw3g/figurativelanguageworksheet.htm)


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