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Language tip of the week: language metaphors

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this new series of  language tips we will be looking at how metaphor is used to express some common concepts in English. This week’s tip looks at metaphors used to talk about language:

Language and words are like food, and the emotions that words express are like flavours:

It took me a long time to digest the news.
The technical name for it is a bit of a mouthful.
We were chewing over what they had told us.
He spat the words out.
It’s a rather indigestible book.
The unpalatable truth is that too many schools are still failing their students.
He spoke bitterly about his family.
They made some very acid remarks.
Lou said sourly that she hadn’t wanted to go anyway.
Inside the card was a sickly/sugary poem.
She swore she’d make them eat their words.
We sat and chewed the fat all evening.

Language and speech are also like animal noises, especially when people are expressing particular attitudes or emotions:

He barked out a series of orders.
‘I’ve so enjoyed our little chat,’ she purred.
They were bleating about how unfair it all was.
Ben grunted his agreement.
The other team were crowing about their victory.
‘Get out of my way!’ he snarled.
‘What’s wrong now?’ he bellowed.
They all hooted with laughter.
‘I knew this would happen,’ she cackled.
He was braying about his latest successful sale.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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