Difference Between Metaphor and Personification

Metaphor vs Personification

When it comes to figures of speech, knowing the difference between metaphor and personification is of great importance as they can be easily confused because of certain similarities between them. For example, have you noticed how some public speakers acquire power to mesmerize audiences while others, though they make use of more authentic information fail to create an impression? The same can be said about writers who make use of figures of speech in their writings to lace their text with words that make all the difference. Describing someone or something by comparing it with someone or something else to buttress your point is making use of figurative language. Metaphor and personification are two such figures of speech that have similarities that confuse people. This article will highlight their differences to let readers know how to make correct use of metaphor and personification.

What is Metaphor?

A metaphor is an implied simile. It does not, like the Simile, state that one thing is like another or acts as another, but takes that for granted and proceeds as it the two things were one. If I say that you are what you eat, I certainly do not mean that you are a chicken or mutton if these are dishes you eat. It just means that one is a product of his own thinking. However, use of metaphor makes the speech so much more powerful as it draws a direct comparison between two totally different things, you and what you eat. If someone says Hussain is the Picasso of India, he is directly comparing Hussain with the greatest painter of all times. Metaphor is a final equation and leaves no doubts in the minds of the reader or the audiences. However, it has an effect that is hard to get without using figurative speech. By using a metaphor, a speaker can compare two things that are not related or are hard to find in relation to each other. If I say my friend has a heart of gold, it does not mean that his heart is made of gold but rather he is a very kind hearted man.

What is Personification?

In personification inanimate objects and abstract notions are spoken of as having life and intelligence. In other words, we can say that personification is a figure of speech where human qualities are attributed to non-living things to create an interesting reading experience. Look at the following example.

Money and fame are fickle companions. They are not your true friends.

Here, money and fame are likened with the qualities of a man that is not normally possible but using personification, a speaker easily makes a reader or audience feel as if these are human beings. Look at this example.

Death lays his icy hands on kings.

Here, death a natural phenomenon is given life by considering it a human. You can see the words his and lays which imply death as a human being.

Difference Between Metaphor and Personification

What is the difference between Metaphor and Personification?

• Metaphor and personification are figures of speech that make a speech or a piece of writing more impressive by making comparisons with totally unrelated objects and things that are normally not possible.

• Sachin is the shining star on Indian sports horizon is a metaphor. While Sachin cannot be a star, the use of metaphor illustrates his importance in the field of sports.

• Personification gives the speaker power to attribute human qualities to inanimate objects.



Martin, W. a. (1998). High School English Grammar and Composition. New Delhi: S. Chand and Company Ltd.