Yesterday I blogged about similes and today I am going to explain how they differ from metaphors. Graham King in his book Collins Improve your Writing Skills, explains that metaphors are “describing something by using an analogy with something quite different”. In the example it’s raining cats and dogs, we don’t actually think that there are cats and dogs falling from the sky, but rather that it is raining heavily.
Metaphors are part of our everyday language and can actually help to explain a point; however, ocassionally they are overused. It takes an expert to create new metaphors that will liven up a piece of writing, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Like others, I would tend to use the tried and trusted ones, for example I may describe someone as being a diamond in the rough, having a heart of gold or being the apple of my eye (but not in one sentence of course). It’s not clever to mix your metaphors.
The difference between similes and metaphors
Whilst similes compare dissimilar things using the words ‘as’ and ‘like’, a metaphor “implies resemblance without using words of comparison such as like” writes Richard C Lamb in his book The Queen’s English. The following two websites contain lists of metaphors and give similar explanations of the difference between similes and metaphors.
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This blog post forms part of My Writing Challenge.
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- Understand Similes and Metaphors (bardicblogger.wordpress.com)
- Right As Rain (worldofpoets.wordpress.com)
- What is the simile for as hasty as (wiki.answers.com)
- Metaphor vs. Simile (pknatz.wordpress.com)