Tropes are an often underestimated methodological problem in philosophy. Therefore, in what follows their surface and deeper structure will be investigated. It is time to bring back the out of the old ornamental tradition of rhetoric into a fundamental analysis of language. I argue that the today dominant theory of substitution is not enough for explaining different understandings of self and world, because it does not help to clarify the role of tropes as thinking models. In opposite to the theory of substitution, I broach the issue of tropes as pre-figurative matter of language with the function framing the logical character of speech. So, I claim that tropes are concepts we live by.