Figurative language

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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2023 9:00 am
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Figurative language

Post by toedrika »

Good evening,

The phrase "to put a smile on someone's face" is an idiomatic expression that means "to please someone or make someone happy".

Can I use the word "draw" figuratively and say "I want to draw a smile on your face"? In this case, does this use of the word have the same meaning as above?

Thanks and kind regards
Antoine Ghannoum
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Re: Figurative language

Post by Joe »

By definition idioms do not mean what their words mean taken literally.

So if you mess with an idiomatic phrase you are likely to have unintended consequences.

Of course, anybody can invent his own "idiom", but it is likely to take generations until it enters the collective consciousness, if ever. More likely never.

For most people "I want to draw a smile on your face" is likely to mean what it says - that you want to literally draw a smile on your interlocutor's face, perhaps with a felt-tip pen or lipstick. :-)

Nothing wrong with writing figuratively using your own imagination, but when an idiom already exists I don't recommend you try to top it :mrgreen:
"We are not wholly bad or good, who live our lives under Milk Wood :-| " — Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood

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