Figurative Language in Emotion Expressions

  • Sophia Yat Mei LeeEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10709)


This paper examines the use of figurative language in expressing emotions in social media. Based on the analysis of 300 posts from, we argue that there is a close interaction between figurative language and emotion. It is found that 27% of the posts contain figurative devices such as metaphor, simile, rhetorical questions, and irony. Among the five basic emotions, the emotion of anger has the greatest tendency to be expressed via the figurative devices, followed by sadness, fear, surprise, and happiness. In addition, the data shows that rhetorical questions are the most frequently used figurative device for evoking negative emotions, i.e. anger and sadness. We believe that the linguistic account of figurative language in emotion expressions will significantly enhance the effectiveness of the existing automatic emotion classification systems.


Emotion Expression Figurative Language Social Media 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chinese and Bilingual StudiesThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung HomHong Kong

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