Ch 6: Figurative & Technical Language: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4

About This Chapter

High school students can view these lessons to help them master the Common Core English requirements for understanding language use in informational texts. Incorporate these lessons into your classroom instruction using the suggestions below.

Standard: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper). (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.4)

About This Chapter

Viewing these lessons in class or as homework will help increase your students' awareness of different forms of figurative language and the types of technical communication they are likely to encounter. They will see the contrast between the poetic nature of more literary informational texts and the down-to-business tone of office memoranda and product manuals. These videos provide expert instruction on:

  • Literary devices from metaphor and similes to symbolism and imagery
  • The differences between allusion and illusion
  • How to find the meaning of figurative language in a text
  • The definition and characteristics of technical communication

Students who have advanced competence in these concepts will expertly decode and interpret figurative language they encounter in informational texts as well as insert symbolic devices of their own into their writing. Conversely, they will understand and demonstrate skill in the brevity and directness required for technical communication, taking fluffy language and breaking it down into its essential points.

How to Use These Lessons in Your Classroom

Here are a couple ways you can implement these videos within the classroom setting.

What does 'is' mean?

After watching the video on cliché, paradox, and equivocation, share infamous quotes from presidents and other celebrities via video or audio clips. The quotes should provide examples of trying to conceal the truth with ambiguity, reveal uncomfortable contrast between the words and reality, or simply be embarrassing for no reason other than complete lack of ingenuity. Have your students identify which of the three categories best describes the content of the quote. And please, don't forget that some quotes may not be age-appropriate, such as that other famous quote from President Clinton.

Technical Interpretations

Watching the video on technical communication characteristics in class, have students practice their word-chopping skills. Create a list of fluffy excerpts from literary informational sources and have students translate the fluff into a single, concise sentence which passes on the critical information without changing the meaning of the message. For greater complexity, provide longer excerpts while maintaining the single-sentence translation.

Searching for Metaphors

We often associate the use of metaphors with fictional literature, but in truth we find it all around us as we attempt to describe things which are tough to explain without the use of association. Watch the videos on metaphor and similes in class and discuss the difference between the two. As homework, have students seek their own examples of metaphors and similes in informational sources, explaining whether it is simile or metaphor, what the author was describing, and why the author chose to use the literary device.

12 Lessons in Chapter 6: Figurative & Technical Language: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
What is a Metaphor? - Examples, Definition & Types

1. 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.

Cliches, Paradoxes & Equivocations: Definitions & Examples

2. 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.

Personification and Apostrophe: Differences & Examples

3. Personification and Apostrophe: Differences & Examples

In this lesson, explore how writers use personification to give human characteristics to objects, ideas, and animals. Learn about apostrophe, or when characters speak to objects, ideas, and even imaginary people as if they were also characters.

Similes in Literature: Definition and Examples

4. 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.

Synecdoche vs. Metonymy: Definitions & Examples

5. 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.

Allusion and Illusion: Definitions and Examples

6. Allusion and Illusion: Definitions and Examples

Allusions and illusions have little in common besides the fact that they sound similar. Learn the difference between the two and how allusions are an important part of literature and writing - and how to spot them in text.

Allegory in Literature: History, Definition & Examples

7. Allegory in Literature: History, Definition & Examples

Learn about allegories and how stories can be used to deliver messages, lessons or even commentaries on big concepts and institutions. Explore how allegories range from straightforward to heavily-veiled and subtle.

Symbolism & Imagery in Literature: Definitions & Examples

8. Symbolism & Imagery in Literature: Definitions & Examples

In this lesson you will learn how poets and authors use symbolism in their writing to make it more meaningful and interesting. Explore how descriptive writing called imagery appeals to the senses, adding to works of literature.

How to Recognize and Use Oxymorons

9. 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.

Interpreting Figures of Speech in Context

10. 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.

Characteristics of Technical Communication

11. Characteristics of Technical Communication

It is important to understand the characteristics of technical communication in order to write documents that meet the needs of your audience. This video provides the characteristics of the subject, audience, purpose and style of technical communications.

Technical Communication: Definition & Purpose

12. Technical Communication: Definition & Purpose

Technical communication is a part of almost every job. This video provides the definition and purpose of technical communication, and explains why technical communication is important for businesses and consumers.

Chapter Practice Exam
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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