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What are Similes and Metaphors and how to use them

Similes and Metaphors

Grammar / Simile and Metaphor

Level: Beginner (10 minute read)

In English language, both similes and metaphors are used for making comparison between two things. This makes sentences interesting, while also stating or describing an important idea or fact. Let's look at what they are and how to use them.

What is a Simile?

A simile is a figure of speech where two unlike things are compared. It is a form of figurative language that uses the words "as" and "like". We use the words "as" or "like" in a simile. As another way to put it, Similes are figurative expressions that use "as" and "like". Similes make comparisons more interesting and vivid for the reader.

In a simile, both “as” and “like” support the comparison in their own way. When the word “as” is used, usually, an adjective is also included in the sentence. The adjective tells the reader what quality or attribute, of the subject, is being compared. The adjective is written between the two occurrences of the word “as”, for example, the adjective “strong” in “as strong as”.

In contrast, when using the word “like”, adjective is not included in the sentence because, either it is implied (or understood) or not required. The word "like" is followed by the object with (or to) which something or someone is being compared.

Please take a look at the image below to understand the difference.

Simile examples using the words as and like

The following are some Simile examples GCSE students might find useful:

  • His record is as clean as a whistle.
  • His hand was as cold as ice.
  • He is as strong as a rock.
  • She is as sweet as candy.
  • Her hair is as black as night.
  • She is as busy as a bee.
  • He is as sharp as a knife.
  • She runs like a horse.
  • He walks like a duck.
  • He slept like a dog.
  • She sings like an angel.

Figure of speech examples: In the image below, we contrast similes and metaphors:

Simile and metaphor: She sings like an angle. She is as sweet as candy. He is a rising star.

What is a Metaphor?

A metaphor is a figure of speech used for comparing different things. Just like a simile, a metaphor also compares things, but without using the words "like" and "as". A metaphor is, therefore, like an implied simile, as it compares two things directly.

Metaphor meaning: A metaphor is a thing that is used to represent or symbolize something else.

Here are 10 examples of metaphors:

  • His hand is a rock.
  • He is a shining star.
  • Life is a roller coaster.
  • Her brain is a computer.
  • He is a chicken.
  • His heart is a volcano.
  • She is an angel in our life.
  • He is a little monkey.
  • He is a couch potato.
  • Her eyes are diamonds.

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