Metaphor vs Simile

Metaphor vs Simile

A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a comparison between two different things is implied,but not clearly stated. E.g “Drunk with fatigue”

In a simile, comparison between two distinctly different things is explicitly indicated by the words “like” or “as”.E.g:- “as big as an elephant”, “like stars” etc

a simile uses like in the sentence. A metaphor uses is in the statement. A cat is like a little furry Beast. A kitten is a little furry Beast.

What’s the difference between analogy, metaphor and simile?

  • A simile is a literary device and is a comparison between two or more dissimilar things:
    For example: Love is like a virus. Similes most often use the expression “is like” or “as.”
    “Kissing a smoker is like licking an ash tray.”
    “…the day of the Lord will come…like a thief in the night.”
    “…A word fitly told is like apples of gold in pitchers of silver.”
  • Metaphors are the smallest units of comparison between things that are unalike. They serve to make difficult concepts easier to understand by comparing something we don’t know much about with something which is more familiar.

    Metaphors also make literary texts more vibrant and enjoyable to read, BUT are in fact “literal lies.”

    Metaphors use forms of the verb “to be,” such as “He is a cloud without water.” “They are hell on wheels.”
    More Examples:
    …My soul is a darkened forest.”
    …Your solution will be like putting perfume on a bag of crap.
    …My wife, Brenda, rained on my parade.
    …The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life.” (Proverbs / Bible)
    …”I am the light of the world.”
  • Analogies are extended metaphors.
    Example Comparison of “life” to “baseball.”

    …Life is a game of baseball. You have to make it to first base by yourself, but you are also dependent on your team mates.
    …You always get a new turn at bat because baseball is all about recovering from failure.
    …The most important thing in life or baseball is is reaching home plate…(your ultimate goal or objective).
    …To reach home plate, learn to ignore the fans, and listen carefully to the coaches.

What are some examples of simile and metaphor?

The Difference Between Similes and Metaphors

Similes are another way to compare two different things, but a simile does so more directly, using the words like or as. For example:

  • Her tears flowed like a river down her cheeks.

In this case, the simile tells the reader that the tears are similar to a river, but not the same. A metaphor, on the other hand, says that something is something else; that is, the girl’s tears are equal to a river. A metaphor is not exactly true. It’s meant to be understood as a figure of speech, not a factual statement.

When would you use a simile instead of a metaphor?

The general rule of thumb is this:-

  • Use a simile to emphasise or make more vivid some quality in a thing.
  • Use a metaphor to inject a symbolic sense for a thing.

Both the simile and the metaphor are figures of speech, and both operate by comparing the thing with something else in a figurative way (not literal). This is why the simile and the metaphor can be confusing.

A simile highlights a quality by comparing it to something else to make the thing stand out more vividly:-

  • as brave as a lion
  • as mad as a hatter

A metaphor identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect. In other words, you’re equating the thing with another thing.

  • I had fallen through a trapdoor of depression. (Trapdoor is a theatrical metaphor)
  • Thus spake Zarathustra, and it was thunder to the people. (Thunder)

What are the differences between metaphors and personification? What are some good examples?

he word “metaphor” has come from the Greek ‘meta’ meaning ‘change’ and ‘phera’, ‘I bear’. It is a figure of speech in which a comparison between two different things is implied,but not clearly stated. A metaphor is a compressed simile. The best test of metaphor is found in its expansion into a faultless simile.

E.g “Drunk with fatigue”

“variety is the spice of life”

“the camel is the ship of the desert”

“she has a stony heart”

“This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit”-Shakespeare

In the figure, Personification, a speaker or writer is found to invest(or attribute) natural elements, inanimate objects, or abstract ideas, with the qualities of a living being. These are made to behave or act like living beings. In fact, they are endowed with personality, intelligence, activity and even mobility.Examples:

  1. “Proud be the rose, with rains and dews”-Wordsworth
  2. “And now the storm-blast came, and he /n was tyrannous and strong”-Coleridge
  3. “Fortune is merry, /n And in this mood will give us anything”-Shakespeare

N.B:- “/n” stands for new line.

What are the differences between similes, metaphors, hyperbole and paradoxes?

Similes, metaphors, hyperboles and paradoxes are few of the many poetic devices.

They are used to heighten the mood of the poem for a deeper impact.


It is a poetic device that is used to compare two different things using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’.


“He fought like a lion in the battle.”

Here the man and the lion are two different things.


It is a poetic device that is used to convey that two different things have some matching properties without using the words, ‘as’ and ‘like’ as in similies.


“He was a lion in the battle.”

This means that the man fought fiercely.


This poetic device is used for extravagant exaggeration.


“I loved the song so much that I listened to it a million times all the day.”

This is usually done for some intensity.


Paradoxes are the poetic devices used to contradict the existing beliefs but they contain a hidden meaning in them.


“This end isn’t the end but the very beginning.”

For example the end of high school for a student could mark the beginning of his/her professional career.

Food for thought:

In the book, “The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green, the protagonist Gus says this:

“It’s a metaphor .You see, you put the killing thing right between your teeth,but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.”

He says this when he just puts the cigarette between his teeth but doesn’t light it.

What is the difference between symbol, simile and metaphor?

Symbol- representation. The word symbolise means, expressing something indirectly.

Eg- The expression thousand stars symbolises the happiness in the writer’s mind.

Simile- express comparison. The word express here denotes the usage of words– like, as etc to compare two objects.

Eg- The haughty girl is as proud as a peacock.

Here, the pride of the girl is compared to the vanity of a peacock and this is explicit, with the use of the word as.

Metaphor- implied comparison. The word implied here means, unlike a simile, the metaphor does not use a word which directly conveys the comparison.

Eg- The camel is the ship of the desert. Here, the camel is compared to a ship, without the use of an express word(like, as etc). Hence, it is implied or implicit comparison.

How are simile and metaphor different in impact?

I think it is a difference of scale. A simile, or a metaphor, can be effective as descriptive devices. But only a metaphor carries enough energy to animate an entire poem or book.

A simile states that something is like something else.
A metaphor states that something is something else, renames it, transforms it, transmutes it.

I like to think in etymological terms: Metaphor (from greek μεταφέρω) means to transfer or to carry between. Simile is derived from latin (neuter noun of similis, an adjective). Metaphor comes from a verb and Simile comes from a noun. Verbs are usually stronger than nouns in their impact.

I believe metaphors have more of an effect because they “carry” meaning, create meanings and associations. I believe similes are less impacting because they can only introduce or highlight an existing similarity.

Similes operate on a more sensory level; metaphors are “meta”, going beyond the sensory to the conceptual and abstract. They don’t stick out like similes, but they more than “carry” their weight.

What are examples of similes and metaphors?

Both similes and metaphors are figurative comparisons. They compare two things as similar.

Simile use the word “like” or maybe “similar to”: “I am like your rock”
Metaphor use the word “is”: “I am your rock”

Below is the same analogy, expressed in different forms.

Rust : Iron :: Envy : Soul
Rust is to Iron as Envy is to the Soul
Rust corrodes Iron as Envy destroys the Soul

Envy is like Rust, it corrodes the Soul

Envy is the Rust that corrodes the Soul

Envy corrodes the Soul

Is “more than” a simile or metaphor? Or is it just a comparison?

A simile compares similar qualities for two different things. These are usually fixed expressions and always use the form:

‘as (adjective) as (noun)’

-The car moved as fast as lightning.

-The child ran as slow as a snail.

-As sly as a fox.

…and so on.

A metaphor says that one thing is another thing. It’s used to create word pictures and evoke emotion.

-She felt champagne bubbles fizzle in her heart as stars danced in her eyes. She … was in love.

-He watched her leave. Her footsteps echoing, matching the hollowness suddenly beating in his chest. The earth, the world wobbled and tilted and the air deserted his lungs.

‘more than’ is grammar used in the comparative. When an adjective is more than two syllables, we use :

‘more (adjective) than (noun)’

to form the comparative.

-A butterfly is more beautiful than a moth.

It can also be used together.

-Now, more than ever he needed to use his brain and not his heart.

-More than kind words, she needed kind actions.

Hope this helps!

Are similes a type of metaphor?

Metaphors, similes, and analogies are three literary devices used in speech and writing to make comparisons. Each is used in a different way.

Identifying the three can get a little tricky sometimes: for example, when it comes to simile vs. metaphor, a simile is actually a subcategory of metaphor, which means all similes are metaphors, but not all metaphors are similes.

Knowing the similarities and differences between metaphor, simile, and analogy can help make your use of figurative language stronger.

Is a simile a type of metaphor or is something all to itself?

A simile is to compare to things by saying that they are similar whilst a metaphor is the comparison of two things by saying that they are the same. For example, the cake is as big as an elephant versus the cake is an elephant. Both convey the same meaning but one does it through saying they are similar and the other does it through saying they are the same.

What is the difference between metaphor and personification?

First the experts: Oxford Dictionary definition of “metaphor”: “A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. Recorded from the late 15th century, the word comes via French and Latin from Greek metaphora, from metapherein ‘to transfer’.” (From: metaphor in The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable)

Personification: “A figure of speech by which animals, abstract ideas, or inanimate things are referred to as if they were human” (The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms)

Briefly, personification is a form of metaphor where a non-human “thing” (an abstraction, trend, natural dynamic, etc.) is described in human terms (it has a mind of its own, talks, thinks, has personality, makes decisions, etc.). Of course metaphors need not refer to human beings, but any other being or “thing”, but when they do refer to a human quality, then the metaphor is also a personification.

What is a simile and example?

What are differences among analogy, simile, metaphor, and metonymy? How can I distinguish each of them?

A figure of speech is a departure from the normal patterns of language for the purpose of emphasizing something. The simplest figure of speech is the SIMILE. A simile emphasizes a similarity of two things by merely saying it: “You are like a fox”, or “You are as a fox”.

A METAPHOR emphasizes a similarity of two things by saying they are the same; “You are a fox”.

Next comes a big word: HYPOCATASTASIS. This is a Greek word for name-calling. Hypocatastasis just calls the fellow a fox. See Luke 13:32 “that fox”, and Genesis 3:1 “the serpent”.

A PARABLE is an extended figure of speech; a story based on a simile, metaphor, or hypocatastasis. If the story is possible, it is a MYTH. If the story is impossible, it is a FABLE. If a fable includes an explanation of the meaning, it is an ALLEGORY. Don’t confuse any of these with LEGEND, which is a supposedly true but unverified historical account (Adam and Eve, for example).

These terms are not used with any precise meaning in modern discourse. For instance, most people think ‘allegory’ means “a story full of religious symbolism beyond human comprehension”. But when discussing figures of speech they are very precisely defined. Here is a book that lists about 900 figures found in the bible. It is almost the only work in the subject for the last two thousand years

What are some examples of easy similes?

A simile uses the words “like” or “as” to compare two unlike things.


  1. She was as beautiful as the sun, brilliant and blinding.
  2. Strands of Christmas lights strung along the fence twinkle like stars in the night.
  3. Jack’s top of his class; he’s as smart as Albert Einstein.
  4. The classroom is dead silent and Cassidy is nervously tapping her fingers on the desk, making a sound like gunfire.
  5. Trying to tackle the linebacker was like running into the side of a house.

Is saying ‘not unlike’ as a comparison a simile or a metaphor?

It’s a simile because the manner of comparison is explicit using the conjunction unlike. But it’s not just a simple simile. It’s a litotes as well because a double negation is used: not +un-.

Metaphors are always implicit comparisons. E.g. His voice was a dagger of corroded steel.

Are similes and analogies interchangeable terms?

For details, see (

Analogies and similes as used by a surgeon who is a passionate golfer …

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