Metaphors and similes + literal and figurative language. These kinds of devices show up in literature all the time.
First, when we look at metaphors, we have to be sure we are really seeing metaphors. Words can be used metaphorically or literally.
Q: WHAT”S THE DIFFERENCE between between “literal” and “metaphorical?”
A: Literal meanings are things you can take at face value, while metaphorical meanings are comparisons, exaggerations or substitutions.
We distinguish between literal meanings and metaphorical meanings.
- The footpath was icy. (literal)
- Her gaze was icy. (metaphorical)
- He couldn’t digest anything the nurse gave him to eat. (literal)
- He couldn’t digest anything the nurse told him. (metaphorical)
- The whole situation really stinks! (metaphorical)
- The garbage dump really stinks! (literal)
- Brad pitt is a very hot actor right now (metaphorical)
- Brad Pitt is a very hot actor right now because he is trapped in an oven! (literal)
Choose whether these are literal or figurative sentences.
- I was on top of the world after passing the test. —>
- My backpack weighs a ton! —>
- The bitter medicine was hard to swallow. —>
- This class is one hundred years long. —>
- The hungry boy attacked the sandwich —>
- I drowned my french fries in ketchup. —>
- The swimmer accidentally drowned in the pool. —>
- My elephant weighs a ton! —>
- This year, many students own cell phones —>
- A century is one hundred years long. —>
- Her attitude is hard to swallow. —>
- The soldiers attacked the enemy castle. —>
- Our basketball team owned the court. —>
- At the summit Mount Everest, the climber was on top of the world.—>
Q: What is a simile?
A: In everyday language, we describe things by comparing them with other things:
- She was as brave as a lion.
- His mind is like a computer
- His face felt like sandpaper.
- She spoke to the children like a drill seargent.
These comparisons are straightforward. The words “as” or “like” tell us comparisons are being made. The technical name for these comparisons is similes. Her gaze was like ice.
Q: What’s the difference between a simile and a metaphor?
A: A metaphor substitutes one thing for another while a simile is a comparison with “like” or “as”.
Simile or metaphor; you make the choice!
- Dumb as a sack of hammers—–>
- The rope was a slippery eel in her hands—–>
- Bob’s confused mind was a whirlwind—–>
- He smells like a field of roses—–>
- The sky was a huge blue bowl—–>
- My new bed felt like a magic carpet —–>
- The crows were black phantoms—–>
- This candy is hard as a rock!—–>
- Her lame new boyfriend is a total wet blanket.—–>
- We cried like babies when we lost the game—–>
- Yow! My feet are like ice!—–>
Challenge! Turn this into a simile: “The road was a long black ribbon.”
Challenge! Turn this into a metaphor: “Her eyes are like diamonds and her heart is like gold.”