Ask the Editor
Serenity Carr, Assistant Editor
Similes and Metaphors
Wednesday April 1st 2020
What is the difference between a simile and a metaphor? — Steven B., United States

Similes and metaphors are both figures of speech that are used to make a comparison between two things that are not alike. The difference is that similes make the comparison by saying that something is like something else but metaphors make the comparison by saying that something is something else.

A simile says that one thing "is like" or "is as … as" another thing. A metaphor says that one thing "is" another thing. Metaphors do not use the words "like" or "as" in their comparisons.

Here are some examples of similes:

  • Life is like a box of chocolates.
  • He was as blind as a bat without his glasses.
  • Her mother was as sharp as a tack. [=her mother was very smart]
  • The kids were fighting like cats and dogs.
  • He swims like a fish. [=he is a good swimmer]

Here are some examples of metaphors:

  • The world is your oyster.
  • His computer was a dinosaur. [=his computer was very old]
  • The puppy was the ray of sunshine the family needed.
  • She is a night owl. [=she likes to stay up late at night]
  • But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
    It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. (Shakespeare) 


I hope this helps.


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