Metaphor vs Simile: Difference and Comparison

English is a vast language and it can have various parts for redefining it. The most common ways of writing comparisons in a poem to provide meaning are metaphors and similes.

The two mentioned are poetic devices and they have been developed to provide ease to people in writing a narrative passage. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Metaphors create an implicit comparison between two unrelated things, while similes create an explicit comparison using “like” or “as.”
  2. Metaphors can be more abstract and thought-provoking, whereas similes provide a clear and direct comparison.
  3. Both metaphors and similes enrich language and add depth to literature and everyday speech descriptions.

Metaphor vs Simile 

A metaphor is a comparison between two things that share common characteristics, such as life being a journey with ups and downs, twists and turns, and choices and decisions. A simile is a comparison between two things, such as “her eyes sparkled like diamonds” to describe the sparkle in her eyes.

Metaphor vs Simile

Metaphors are phrases used in poems or passages to make the reader understand the meaning. They are lies but seem like truth when perceived about the thing which is being talked about. A metaphor is a comparison that is done directly without the use of words like as and such. 

Similes are phrases that are used at various places to provide a comparison that is similar yet abstract. The comparison is made on the basis of truth and indirectly.

The words such as and like are seen to provide a poetic meaning. Example:- As fierce as a tiger. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMetaphorSimile
Definition Metaphors are phrases that compare two features abstractly and directly.Similes are also phrases that compare two objects directly with the use of words like such as and like.
PurposeTo make the reader imagine the situationTo make the reader imagine the situation giving the example of a situation
Memorising tipAnother thing or person is the subject.The subject is like another object.
Mode of comparisonThe comparison is made to be implicit.The comparison is said to be explicit
ExamplesShe was crying like a baby. Life is chocolate either white or black.He is as raging as a volcano. She is as sweet as candy.

What is a Metaphor?

Metaphors are phrases that give a comparison between two objects that are not alike but give the impression they are the same and allow the reader to paint a picture of what the writer wanted to write.

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It is a poetic device that gives the poems and passages a creative style that is eye-catching and persuades the user to read further.

It is said to be a symbol that represents an object. The subject is another object, and the main object is the one being compared to.

The metaphor also has the advantage that most of the figures of speeches are metaphors like the rumbling of bells is a metaphor for sound. 

The associations are created abstractly and are direct and easy to understand. They are used to compare indirect objects.

They are similes without the words like as and such, but the metaphors are more effective in reading because it raises the complexity that provides the twist and turns.

There are extended metaphors also, which means that they are extended over multiple lines, which means that they extend over a poem or passage.

Even if they are not direct, they are left to be interpreted. Some of the phrases which can be classified as metaphors are as follows:- 

  1. The white and black horses symbolise death.
  2. The heart is lonely on the white hills.
  3. The love travels on white horses.

What is Simile?

The simile is a comparison being done between two objects and is direct and easy to use.

The similes use words that are like and such as which gives the reader a clear idea about what is being said and are mostly used in day-to-day languages as well as paragraphs to give them a meaning. 

Similes are a way to represent two abstract things in a single sentence to give it a meaning which is easy and hassle-free.

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The subject is like another object. Most of the similes have a deeper meaning, but sometimes they are used because of the features.

The features may be personality traits like anger, care, etc., or outward features like fairness, height, etc.

They allow the user to picture the exact information that is being said or done. The picture imagined is more vivid and clear, as well as leaves a greater impact on the minds of people.

Similes are also used to make the description stand out and make the user read further.

The origin of the word simile is from the Latin word “similis”, which means similar, and it clarifies the word done by the poetic device in the sentence. Some of the phrases that are similes are as follows:-

  1. As hot as a volcano
  2. As cool as ice
  3. He goes with the flow, much like water. 

Main Differences Between Metaphor and Simile

  1. Metaphors are phrases that compare two features abstractly and directly, whereas similes are phrases that compare two objects directly with words like such as and like.
  2. The purpose of using a metaphor is to make the reader imagine the situation, whereas a simile is used to make the reader imagine the situation by giving an example of a situation.
  3. In a metaphor, another thing or person is the subject, whereas, in a simile, the subject is like another object.
  4. The comparison in metaphor is made to be implicit, whereas, in simile, the comparison is said to be explicit.
  5. Examples: 
  • She was crying like a baby.
  • Life is chocolate, either white or black.
  1. Examples:
  • He is as raging as a volcano.
  • She is as sweet as candy
Difference Between Metaphor and Simile
References
  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-0017.2006.00282.x

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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14 thoughts on “Metaphor vs Simile: Difference and Comparison”

  1. Metaphors and similes add a lot of depth and color to any piece of writing. I appreciate the detailed comparison between the two.

    Reply
  2. The detailed explanations of metaphors and similes have provided valuable insights into their usage and interpretation in literary works.

    Reply
  3. The article effectively explores the purpose and application of metaphors and similes in writing, which is crucial for aspiring writers to understand.

    Reply
    • I found the comparison table to be particularly useful in breaking down the key differences between metaphors and similes.

      Reply
  4. Metaphors and similes are integral to the art of writing, and this article does an excellent job of highlighting their significance.

    Reply
  5. The distinction between metaphors and similes is explained very clearly here, providing a great insight into both literary devices.

    Reply

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