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Difference Between Metaphor and Simile

Metaphor vs Simile

Metaphors and similes are figures of speech are made heavy use of in daily lives, especially by public speakers, to not only stress a point but also to make comparisons between objects and people. They are very similar in nature which is why there is a lot of confusion among people. Despite similarities, they are totally different which is what this article attempts to prove through examples and their features that will be highlighted here. It is really helpful to know their differences to be better able to lace your language with words that work as pearls.

One thing to remember is that while a metaphor is of many types, a simile is easy to spot as it is a direct comparison. Let us begin with a simile first then. Simile spells similar to similar, isn’t it? Here’s is the clue. Whenever you spot words like as or like, you can be sure that a simile has been used. If someone says ‘My heart is as clean as a highway’, he has cleverly used a simile to draw comparison between two very different things. On the other had, he can very well say, ‘My heart is a highway’ which is when the person is using a metaphor as he did not use the words like ‘like’ and ‘as’. A figure of speech adds romanticism to a person’s speech. When a boy compares the eyes of his beloved with fish in ocean, she does not have eyes like fish, but she understands that she is being praised for her sparkling eyes and the purpose is solved.

While a simile approximates a thing to another, metaphor treats one as a substitute for another. A metaphor is complete in itself and does not need an explanation. However, you can use one after other similes to explain your meaning. If I say a great book is like a good meal, I am using a simile to let people think that the book is as delicious as a meal. On the other hand, I can use a metaphor to have the same effect when I say that the book is a food for thought. Here, I am using a metaphor as I am not directly comparing a book with a delicious meal but suggesting that the book is great to satiate the hunger of those who read books for this purpose. If I come across a friend who is a voracious reader, the book is not like a meal to him, it is food for him.

In brief:

Difference Between Metaphor and Simile

• Similes make use of comparison words like ‘as and like’ whereas metaphor is conspicuous by their absence

• Metaphors are of many types and similes are just one of these types

• Metaphor is a direct comparison whereas simile is an approximation


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  5. Difference Between Compare to and Compare with in English Grammar

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