Image Schema

Image schemas are structures to sentences that map to one or more real world experiences. By structuring an abstract concept to a spatial concept we are able to make sense of it. A common image schema is the movement from a source to a goal along a directed path. Another common one is focusing-and-then-inspecting. “First we locate the object or domain of interest, and then we inspect its details.” 1. Other examples:

  • moving toward an object
  • adding one thing to another
  • a path that leads from a source to a goal
  • movement from a center to periphery
  • entering and leaving
  • rising pitch


Thomas, F.-N. & Turner, M. Clear and Simple as the Truth: Writing Classic Prose - Second Edition. (Princeton University Press, 2011).