About This Chapter
Standard: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.5)
Standard: Interpret figures of speech (e.g., literary, biblical, and mythological allusions) in context. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.5.A)
Standard: Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonym/antonym, analogy) to better understand each of the words. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.5.B)
Standard: Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., refined, respectful, polite, diplomatic, condescending). (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.5.C)
About This Chapter
As your students view these lessons and practice the skills they teach, they'll grow in their understanding of the many types of figurative language they could encounter across written and spoken media. They'll also be able to identify and employ each type in their own writing. Your students will also learn common sources of regularly-used figurative language. The topics covered in this chapter describe:
- How to understand words through relationships
- How to improve understanding through synonyms, antonyms, and analogies
- Figures of speech: definitions and interpretations
- Euphemism and synecdoche/metonymy
- Metaphors and similes
- Clichés, paradoxes, and equivocations
- Irony and oxymorons
- Connotation and denotation
Your students will exhibit greater linguistic dexterity as they develop in the skills taught in these lessons. They'll explore various uses of figurative language as they speak and write, noticeably improving in their execution of these devices. Their discussion and analysis of texts, read alone and in class, should show a dramatic increase in figurative reasoning.
How to Use These Lessons in Your Classroom
Show these lessons in class and have a little fun along the way with these activity ideas.
After you watch the videos on figure of speech, metaphor, similes, and clichés in class, have your students complete a homework assignment wherein they create a heated dialogue between two characters. The trick, however, is that every slight passed between the two should come as historic figures of speech, adapted from texts being read and discussed in class. Naturally Shakespeare is a great resource for creative insults, but challenge students to explore multiple sources. Have them follow the brief dialogue with a description of the sources they used, what they understand the insults to mean based on literary and historical context, and whether people say similar things today. Remind students that literature is a great place to explore these feelings and expressions in a process of self-discovery, but that they are generally unproductive between peers in real life.
Say what you mean
Watch the videos on euphemism, clichés/paradoxes/equivocations, and synecdoche/metonymy with your students. Then task your students with observing the conversations around them or that they see on television. Ask them to find examples of people using these devices to avoid saying something outright. Have your students quote each figure of speech, describe what it means, and explain why the person may have employed the figurative language rather than saying clearly what they meant.
Small group exercise
Show students the lesson on connotation and denotation. Have students discuss, in small groups, various turns of phrase that they commonly use. They should discuss what type of figure of speech is being represented, and how the connotation may differ from the actual word meaning.
1. Understanding Words By Their Relationships
Many words in the English language have multiple meanings. To really understand a word, we have to understand the relationship between particular words. In this lesson, we will examine this through connotations, denotations, synonyms, and analogies.
2. Using Synonyms, Antonyms & Analogies to Improve Understanding
In this lesson, you'll explore your three best friends when it comes to understanding difficult words: antonyms, synonyms, and analogies. Then, test your knowledge of these three buddies with a quiz.
3. What Is a Figure of Speech?
In this lesson, we will define figure of speech and explain why it is important in your writing. After this definition, we will examine the more common figure of speeches and look at some examples.
4. Interpreting Figures of Speech in Context
Figures of speech can add humor or drama to any situation, but you have to understand what they mean in order to connect the dots. In this lesson, we'll discuss how to interpret figures of speech, such as verbal irony, puns, idioms, and hyperbole.
5. Euphemism: Definition & Examples
This lesson defines euphemisms, alternate language used in place of offensive language or when discussing taboo topics. Explore some examples of euphemisms in everyday language and well-known examples from literature.
6. What is a Metaphor? - Examples, Definition & Types
Metaphors are all around you. They're the bright sparkling lights that turn plain evergreens into Christmas trees. Learn how to spot them, why writers write with them, and how to use them yourself right here.
7. Synecdoche vs. Metonymy: Definitions & Examples
Would you lend your ears for a moment (or at least your eyeballs)? This lesson will explain what synecdoche and metonymy mean and how to spot them in a piece of prose or poetry.
8. Cliches, Paradoxes & Equivocations: Definitions & Examples
Learn about cliches, paradoxes, and equivocations, and how they can weaken or strengthen certain types of writing. Explore examples of all three from literature and daily life.
9. Similes in Literature: Definition and Examples
Explore the simile and how, through comparison, it is used as a shorthand to say many things at once. Learn the difference between similes and metaphors, along with many examples of both.
10. Types of Irony: Examples & Definitions
Discover, once and for all, what irony is and is not. Explore three types of irony: verbal, situational and dramatic, and learn about some famous and everyday examples.
11. How to Recognize and Use Oxymorons
In this lesson, we will define the figure of speech called an oxymoron and look at several examples. We will then discuss how to recognize oxymorons and use them correctly in writing.
12. What Are Connotation and Denotation? - Definitions & Examples
Discover the difference between a word's denotation and its connotation in this lesson. Explore how authors use both denotation and connotation to add layers of meaning to their work with some literary examples.
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Other chapters within the Common Core ELA Grade 7 - Language: Standards course
- English Language Conventions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.1
- Phrases and Clauses: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.1A
- Types of Sentences: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.1B
- Modifiers: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.1C
- English Grammar Conventions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.2
- Comma Rules: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.2A
- Spelling: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.2B
- English Language Knowledge: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.3A
- Determining Meaning with Context: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.4A-D
- English Vocabulary: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.6