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Metaphors vs Similes

Every narrative writing (story) will have life, energy and excitement in order to attract the reader’s attention, senses and imagination.

A simile describes one object as another (sometimes unrelated) object. It compares a situation or image to another in order to portray or illustrate the whole nature of what is being described.

In this sense, similes use the words ‘as’ and ‘like’ in describing.

For example, ‘The lightning was as quick as a flash.’ Here the word 'lightning' is being compared with (like) a flash.

'The pebble was glowing like a cat’s eye.’ The term ‘simile’ is linked to the word ‘similar’, which explains it clearly; that the look of the pebble is similar to a cat’s eye.

Instead of describing an image or event to be like or similar to another, authors sometimes make the image something else. This is called a metaphor. It represents one thing as being exactly what another (perhaps unrelated) is.

A metaphor thus transfers the sense or aspects of one thing to another. It often, but not always, uses the verb ‘to be’. In the example following;

'The friendship between them was thawing.' 'Friendship' is being compared to something that is thawing; an ice.

Both similes and metaphors compare one thing to another. However, similes do not describe an image as exactly the same as some other.

Meanwhile, there are two types of metaphors; a direct metaphor (which uses the verb ‘to be’ to link the subject and the other parts of the sentence); and the implied metaphor (which uses an action verb to link the subject to the sentence).

In the examples below: ‘Mr Buster is a sleeping giant.’ The word ‘is’ links 'Mr Buster' (the subject) to 'sleeping giant' ( the rest of the sentence);

The singer possesses a velvet voice. The action verb ‘possesses’ links ‘the singer’ to the rest of the sentence (implying that his voice is the texture of a material).

The video shows the differences between Similes and Metaphors.

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