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Figures Of Speech And Occupations

In this article, we will talk about figures of speech and how to use them and learn about a few occupations.

Figures Of Speech

A figure of speech is a word or a phrase used in a non-literal sense for vivid effect. There are too many kinds of figures of speech to cover them all. In this article, we will mainly focus on:

  1. Similes
  2. Idioms


What is a simile? A simile is a figure of speech that compares two different things using the connectors ‘like’ or ‘as … as …’. 

The word “simile” is derived from the Latin word similis (‘similar’, ‘like’). The purpose of similes is to help describe one thing by comparing it to another thing that is seemingly unrelated. 

Some examples are:

  • They fought like cats and dogs.
  • You are as brave as a lion.
  • Watching the show was like watching grass grow.

Question 1:

Complete the simile. As __________ as a hare.

  1. hairy
  2. swift
  3. cunning
  4. persuasive


(2) swift


Notice how a simile links a quality to something that we all know possesses that quality. Sometimes they are exaggerations or stereotypes.

As SWIFT (fast) as a hare. (We know rabbits are fast. That is why we got the story of “The Hare and the Tortoise”.) 

Try the following similes.

  • As brave as a --------------------------- (lion)
  • As strong as an ------------------------- (ox)
  • As clean as a ---------------------------- (whistle)
  • They fought like -------- and ---------- (cats) (dogs)
  • As blind as a ----------------------------- (bat)
  • As easy as shooting ------- in a ------ (fish) (barrel)

Question 2:

Tim has been slacking, but he’s since pulled up his _________.

  1. suspenders
  2. truck
  3. hair 
  4. socks


(4) socks


An idiom is a figure of speech that means something different than a literal translation of the words. 

It is a phrase that conveys something different and cannot be guessed from the meaning of its individual words. Even though an idiom has a literal meaning, it is understood as something else. 

Some common examples and their intended meaning:



Better late than never

Better to arrive late than not to come at all

Call it a day

Stop working on something

Bite the bullet

To get something over with because it is inevitable


Try the following idioms:

  • I have been feeling under the ------------ (weather)
  • All the best for the performance, --------! (break a leg)
  • I can’t decide, I’m --------- with this one. (on the fence)
  • The siblings stuck together through --------. (thick and thin)

Question 3:

Hey! Tell me what you have been whispering about! Go on, __________.

  1. pull my leg
  2. the ball is in your court
  3. spill the beans
  4. let the cat out


(3) spill the beans


In classical texts, figures of speech are classified as one of the four operations or categories of change. They are as follows: 

  • Addition

It is also called repetition, expansion, or superabundance.

  • Omission 

It refers to deletion and is also called subtraction or abridgment.

  • Permutation

It means rearrangement.

  • Transmutation

It can also be interpreted as transposition or transformation.

These operations were used in very very old classical English texts and are no longer in use today. It is helpful to know that such a thing existed (but they are mostly redundant in today’s language usage).


An occupation is a job or a profession that people do, mainly as a means of earning a living. Some examples of occupations are listed below.

  • Archaeologists

These people study human history by excavating sites and analyzing the artifacts and other physical remains found there.

  • Paleontologists

A paleontologist is a scientist who studies the history of life on Earth through the fossil record. Fossils are evidence of past life on planet Earth. Fossils can be formed from animal bones (like dinosaur bones) or their imprints (body fossils).

  • Boss

This word is generally used as a synonym for a number of other words like an owner, manager, and supervisor. However, there are some subtle differences between each. Let us check them out.

  • Owner

The owner is the person or persons who actually own the property or business. They have a financial stake in the business. They may or may not run the day-to-day activities of the business, but for all important decisions involving the finances, their consent is required.

Take the example of a hotel. It can be owned by Mr. X. He may or may not be involved in running the hotel on a daily basis. He may hire other people to run the day-to-day activities. But when a renovation of the hotel is planned, since it involves major finances, the consent of Mr. X is definitely required. He may give his approval or may decline the proposal.

  • Manager

The manager is the person who manages the business or property on a daily basis. He is an employee of the business. He manages or tells others what tasks have to be performed to ensure that the business is run smoothly.

In the above example of the hotel, the owner of the hotel hires a manager to run the hotel on a day-to-day basis. He is in charge of the daily activities of the hotel. He further assigns tasks to a team of people which he manages to help run the hotel smoothly.

  • Supervisor

A supervisor is a person who guides people working in that particular department. He is like a big brother to the people under him and he guides their activities. He reports to the Manager and has to oversee people working under him. He needs to ensure that the department he is managing runs smoothly and he assigns tasks to the people under him.

In the same example, the Manager hires supervisors for the kitchen, bakery, etc. The supervisor for the kitchen will only be responsible for the activities in the kitchen. He will further review the work of the cooks, helpers, etc in the kitchen. He does not know anything about the other departments in the hotel.

  • Caretaker

A person who takes care of many things. He can look after people or things. When people take care of a place, they may be called by different names -

  • Janitor

A person who keeps the premises of a building such as an apartment or an office clean is known as the janitor. A janitor also takes care of the heating and cooling system of the premises and may also do minor repairs.

  • Cleaner

A person who just takes care of keeping the premises (hotel, office) clean and organized is called a cleaner. His main duties involve sweeping, mopping, vacuuming the floors, dusting the countertops, as well as sanitizing bathrooms, kitchens and other public areas.

  • Watchman

A person who keeps watch or guards premises is called a watchman. He is responsible for keeping an eye on what is happening around the area and is in charge of the security of that place.

Question 4:

I love studying human history by digging up artifacts and analyzing them. I should be an archaeologist!

  1. True
  2. False


(1) True

Question 5:

I spilled some water in the school hall, so I went to borrow a mop from the _________.

  1. caregiver
  2. aunty
  3. uncle
  4. janitor


(4) janitor


In this article, we covered figures of speech. Besides the topics covered, I would encourage you to make a note of the new vocabulary words and to look up their meanings to help you improve your vocabulary.

  • Figures Of Speech

It is a word or phrase which has an intentional deviation from the literal meaning. It emphasizes, clarifies or embellishes the language. We focused on two main figures of speech:

  1. Similes

It compares two different things using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’. It is taken from the word similar.

  1. Idioms

It means something different than a literal interpretation of the words. It is understood differently from its literal meaning.

  • Operations

These are changes which were used in old classical English texts and are no longer in use today.

  • Occupations

We learnt about some occupations and some words which are used as synonyms for certain occupations, but have subtle differences.

Keep reading more and more, as that is the best way to improve your vocabulary. Hope you enjoyed this article.

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