Figurative Language Practice Exercises (page 2)

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Updated on Sep 29, 2011

Practice 3: The Bat, the Birds, and the Beasts

An Aesop's Fable Retold

Read the selection, and then answer the questions that follow.

(1) Once, about a quadrillion years ago, the Birds and the Beasts of the earth prepared for a great war. No one knows exactly who started the war; it just happened. There were rumors that one of the winged creatures got a bit bent out of shape and said something that rubbed one of the Beasts the wrong way! Whatever the reason, the day and time for battle were set.
(2) The winged creatures flew to the meeting place. On the way, they passed Bat, who was perched in a tree. "Come with us!" they called to Bat. "You are a winged creature, too!"
(3) Bat looked at the other flying creatures. He did not want to fight at all, so he said, "No, I can't join you!"
(4) "Why not?" asked a gruff vulture that was as big as a house!
(5) "Please, don't jump all over me!" Bat replied as he pointed to his sharp teeth. "I can't join you because I'm . . . a Beast!"
(6) The winged creatures just shrugged their shoulders and moved on.
(7) Later, the Beasts walked by. "Come with us!" called one Beast who had feet the size of logs! "You're a Beast, like us. Come and help us fight!"
(8) Bat didn't beat around the bush; he just fluttered his wings and said, "I hate to blow my own horn here, friends, but can't you see I am a Bird?"
(9) The Beasts just shook their heads and marched away.
(10) Later that day, representatives from the Birds and the Beasts met to talk things over. Luckily, a peace treaty was negotiated and there was no battle. Instead, each side had its own feast of celebration.
(11) Bat saw that there were parties going on and wanted to join the fun. First, he went to the Birds' party, but they flew at him and chased him away. "You have sharp teeth so you're not a Bird!" they cried. "This party is for Birds only!"
(12) Then Bat went to join the Beasts, but had to fly away before they tore him apart! "You have wings, so you must be a Bird," they cried. "This party is for Beasts only!"
(13) High in the tree, Bat watched the celebrations and said sadly, "If you don't claim to be one thing or the other, you have no friends!" Since then, the friendless Bat hides from other creatures in caves by day, and hunts only in the dark of night.
10. Personification is used in this fable to
a. make humans do things that animals do.
b. have animals talk and act like humans.
c. have the Beasts play like humans in a rock band.
d. make the Bat use human-like arms to row a boat to a desert island.
11. What is the meaning of the idiom get bent out of shape?
a. Get plenty of exercise.
b. Reverse direction.
c. Get upset or angry.
d. Buy a pretzel.
12. Which is NOT an idiom?
a. rub one the wrong way
b. blow my own horn
c. beat around the bush
d. shrug their shoulders and moved on
13. Which is an example of hyperbole?
a. a gruff vulture
b. as big as a house
c. perched in a tree
d. feast of celebration
14. The author uses the hyperbole feet the size of logs to help readers
a. visualize an animal with really long feet.
b. visualize an animal that would make squeaking sounds.
c. visualize an animal with very long hair.
d. visualize an animal sitting on a log.


1. b
2. d
3. c
4. c
5. b
6. c
7. d
8. c
9. a
10. b
11. c
12. d
13. b
14. a
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