Fiction: Figurative and Concrete Language

Daily Prompt #21: Inspired by great writers


What do you think Anton Chekhov means by this? What’s he getting at?

Take five minutes to write your thoughts.


Figurative and concrete language help to make your writing vivid and, ultimately, more interesting. Let’s do some writing exercises to practice!

Figurative Language: language that is different from the literal interpretation. They are figures of speech. Examples would be metaphor, simile, and personification, just to name a few.

Write the following sentence in your notebook.

The girl was sad.

Rewrite this sentence now, using a metaphor.

Now use a simile.

Now use personification.

Now use apostrophe. Bet you do not know this one! It’s when a character speaks to someone who cannot speak back, often an inanimate object. A classic example is the children’s song, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Another example is when Hamlet talks to a dagger he is imagining is in front of him.

See? There are so many ways to describe how this girl is sad. Figurative language can make her sadness more beautiful, more poignant.


Let’s consider concrete language now: language which appeals to all the senses. This type of language helps you show rather than tell in your writing.

Write the following sentence in your notebook:

The boy was happy.

Using all five senses, write a brief paragraph which shows the boy’s happiness.

  • sight
  • sound
  • smell
  • taste
  • touch

I also want to make sure you know how to write dialogue correctly.  Dialogue can be a powerful tool when writing fiction, especially when it sounds authentic.


With the time remaining, continue working on your works of fiction by adding more figurative and concrete language and checking that your dialogue is formatted correctly.