Literal vs. Figurative Language… It’s a Piece of Cake!
Take a good look at this picture. Do you suddenly want to eat this mouthwatering slice of chocolate cake or are you thinking about something completely different? Maybe you remember a time when you heard the phrase “piece of cake” but there weren’t any sweet desserts in sight.
If you use the Literal meaning “piece of cake” you might begin to daydream about cupcakes, the Cheesecake Factory and American apple pie.
However, there is a Figurative meaning (or an Idiom) for the same phrase “piece of cake”.
An activity that is considered a “piece of cake” is a task that is very easy to do. If a person is an accountant, then simple math problems are a “piece of cake”. Tying shoelaces on a Nike trainer are a “piece of cake” for a professional athlete, but is quite a challenge for a 4-year-old child.
As you continue studying the English language and develop a larger vocabulary, remember that many times there are both literal and figurative meanings. Then you can ask yourself, which meaning do YOU want to use?
Although it looks delicious, there is more to this picture than a chocolate slice of cake, a fork, and a sheet of paper.
Can you think of any other idioms that have double meanings in English?