Figurative Language Questions


(a) Simile – a thing or a person is compared to another that has a shared quality

Hitler was as sly as a wily fox when he subdued his enemies.

(b) Metaphor – a thing or a person is referred to as the thing to which it is being compared

Hitler was a wily fox who subdued his enemies.

(c) Metonomy – an object or person is referred to by the name of something that is closely related to it

The whole city (means people in the city) was addicted to the bottle (meaning liquor).

(d) Personification – inanimate objects and abstract ideas are personified, i.e. treated like human beings

Wisdom goes with the humble and she will teach them how to live a good life.

(e) Hyperbole – an extreme exaggeration to highlight a point

If I could move mountains but have no love, I am nothing.

(f) Irony – the real meaning is the opposite of what the words literally mean, or a result that is completely different, opposite or contradictory to the aim

What a good cook you are! (When the opposite is true)

This gadget which is supposed to help you to save time, is taking more time away from you.

(g) Contradiction – two contradictory or completely opposing states of affairs which cannot be both true

You cannot claim that you are sick when you are healthy enough to go ice skating.

(h) Paradox – similar to a contradiction except both state of affairs are true

He who wants to be the leader of a group must first be a servant.

(i) Oxymoron – a phrase with two words of opposite or contradictory meanings places next to each other

It was an open secret that Stalin and Hitler had made a pact.

(j) Rhetorical question – a question that does not require an answer and is intended to convey a point

Does Hitler, who has killed millions of people, deserve to be called a saint?

(k) Anthropomorphism – the idea that gods, animals or other objects have human forms or qualities such as jealousy, hatred, or love

(l) Analogy - the comparison of two pairs which have the same relationship

hot is to cold as fire is to ice

1. What is the author’s purpose in posing a string of questions from lines 25-28? [2m]

It is repetitive, even banal, to keep using this word, ‘unique’. Yet Gandhi - without trying or affectation, yet with a keen and calculated sense of theatre was sui generis*. No revolutionary of the past had ever so exploited the power of powerlessness, and discovered how passive resistance could flummox an imperialism built on physical force, that was accustomed to being attacked, but not suborned. How does an army deal with ‘passive resistance’? How does it subdue an unarmed opposition? How does a railway operate when men invite the trains to run over silent people prostrate on the line? There was no way - that was how Gandhi won the war he never fought.

* in a class of his own/unique in his own characteristics




How does an army deal with ‘passive resistance’?

How does it subdue an unarmed opposition?

How does a railway operate when men invite the train to run over silent people prostrate on the line?

The questions direct the reader to the _________________________________________ undertaken by Gandhi in countering his more powerful enemy who is used to aggression with ___________________________

OR any two of the following:

Method of victory

1. invites the reader to think about/highlights to the reader Gandhi’s _____________ methods – that of _____________________________(1)

Effect of literary device employed -

2. It is a _____________________ device used to ____________________ the strategies employed by Gandhi. [1]

2. Explain the irony in lines 3-5. [1 mark]

Social habit in the U.S. has taken decisive turns towards the awful. Since the end of World War II, Americans have been steadily relinquishing their inhibitions about the social consequences of their actions. They have lost a crucial sense of community, even while highways, jets, satellite TV signals and leisure travel have brought them physically closer together. The social environment has grown polluted along with the natural; a headlong greed and self-absorption have sponsored both contaminations. Somehow, Americans have also misplaced the moral confidence with which to condemn sleaziness and stupidity. It is as if something in the American judgment snapped, and has remained so long unrepaired that no one notices any more.


Own Words

They have lost a crucial sense of community, even while highways, jets, satellite TV signals and leisure travel have brought them physically closer together.

While technology can allow people to be more___________________________________


They are ironically ______________________


3. Aldous Lee compares handling the cigarette problem to a "war being waged" (line 25). Identify two metaphors in paragraph four that continue this comparison. No explanation is required. [2]

What else needs to be done? For a start, we should redouble efforts in every area of the anti-smoking war being waged by Mr Chan's committee. Our best weapon in the interim is a tax: raise the excise tax every year, if not twice a year, which might help persuade a few smokers to give up well ahead of the total ban being imposed. Parliament should raise the consumption age from eighteen to twenty-one, while imposing punitive measures not amounting to criminal charges for underage smokers. On the home front, we should consider charging parents of underage smokers with parental neglect. Why not prohibit smoking for all pregnant women since they are introducing nicotine and creating unwilling passive smokers among the helpless future citizens they carry? Cigarette manufacturers must be required to carry full-colour visuals and messages depicting, in gruesome fashion, the very real consequences of the habit - lung cancer, stroke and arteriosclerosis. As a gesture of understanding, the Environment Ministry could assign designated public smoking areas, a kind of no combat zone where desperate smokers may still light up. Finally, we must impose a heavy monetary penalty on all those caught flouting the cigarette law so that the stink of the weed becomes a sting in the wallet.


4. Identify and explain one pun (a play on words) in paragraph six. [2]

Clearly, there are no easy answers when it comes to stubbing out cigarettes once and for all. But if there is any country in the world which can pull it off and make it work, it has to be Singapore, which rid itself of chewing gum and the sticky problems that came with it.


5.Why is the word “voluntary” (line 6) in inverted commas? (1)

Once upon a time, a psychiatrist named Fredric Wertham went on a tear over Wonder Woman. He detected a vagina in the crook of her cartoon arm and he thought her superpowers were giving girls “the wrong idea” about women’s place in society. As for Batman’s ward, Robin, his bare legs and devotion to his guardian were planting homosexual thoughts in boys, or so Wertham believed. His crusade led to Congressional hearings and the “voluntary” censorship of comics by the industry.

From passage

Own words

“His crusade led to Congressional hearings and the “voluntary” censorship of comics by the industry.”

Advocates of active euthanasia appeal to the principle of patient autonomy. But emphasis on the patient’s right to determine his or her destiny often harbours an extremely naïve view of the uncoerced nature of the decision. Patients who plead to be put to death hardly make unforced decisions if the terms and conditions under which they receive care already nudge them in the direction of the exit. If the elderly have stumbled around in their apartments, alone and frightened for years, or if they have spent years warehoused in geriatrics barracks, then the decision to be killed for mercy hardly reflects an uncoerced decision. The alternative may be so wretched as to push patients toward this escape. It is a huge irony and, in some cases, hypocrisy to talk suddenly about a compassionate killing when the aging and dying may have been starved for compassion for many years. To put it bluntly, a country has not earned the moral right to kill for mercy unless it has already sustained and supported life mercifully. Otherwise we kill for compassion only to reduce the demands on our compassion.

6a. Identify one metaphorical expression in paragraph 4 lines 24-28 and explain its meaning. [3m]


6b. Explain the paradox in ‘we kill for compassion only to reduce the demands on our compassion.’ (lines 32-33) [2m]


7. From paragraph 2, identify the two metaphors used. What is the author’s intention of using each of these metaphors?

The future? Well, yes and no. E-mail, as it turns out, was just one drop in a dam-breaking flood of technology that has inundated our lives. Today, the constant pinging of your e-mail can be like the drip-drip-drip of water torture. We are swimming in doodads* and options — text messaging and search engines, Blackberries and blogs, Wi-fi, cell phones that try to do all of the above, and the promise that we have not seen anything yet.


8. How does Jean-Francois Bayart’s metaphor of ‘a goat on a leash eating everything in its radius’ (line 34) exemplify many an African politician? Use your own words as far as possible. [2]

Anthropologist Jean-Francois Bayart calls it the “politics of the belly”, using a metaphor of a goat on a leash eating everything in its radius. It reminds one only too tellingly of many an African politician; they bleat some clichés about development to please the aid agency, and then get on with the real business of government: eating up all available resources for that Swiss account. The outside world simply cannot solve this for Africa. Legitimacy will come when honourable men and women make a genuine effort to serve their people. It may take time but it is something Africans will have to learn to do for themselves.



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