Simile vs. Metaphor: Difference Between Them and Meaning

“Simile” and “metaphor” are both parts of the figures of speech. “Similes” and “metaphors” are used to help get messages across in a way that isn’t as technical. Moreover, “similes” and “metaphors” are used to get a point across, whether it’s in rhetoric or poetry. Figures of speech like “similes” and “metaphors” are used to make an idea more vivid or to make a picture come to mind. However, questions such as “What are the key differences between simile and metaphor?” prompt, despite sharing the same purpose of comparing two different things. 

Below is a list that shows the key differences between simile and metaphor.

  • “Simile” is a figure of speech used to add emphasis or vividness to descriptions by comparing one thing with another of a different kind.
  • “Simile” is a term that describes something by making a contrast.
  • “Simile” uses the words “like” or “as” to compare things.
  • “Similes” are used to describe something as being similar to another thing.
  • “Metaphor” is a figure of speech that uses non-literal language to describe an item or action in order to clarify a point or draw a comparison.
  • “Metaphor” is for the sake of rhetorical effect. It refers to one thing while simultaneously addressing another.
  • “Metaphors,” offer clarification or reveal unnoticed connections between two dissimilar ideas.

People frequently get “simile” and “metaphor” confused with one another. The main reason is that both terms are part of figures of speech that have the same function of contrasting two distinct things. “Similes” are used to describe something in terms of how it is comparable to another thing, whereas “metaphors” are used to describe something as being something else. The usage of the comparison words “like” and “as” is the only thing that differentiates a “simile” from a “metaphor.” If a speaker uses a “simile” or a “metaphor” in a confusing way, the meaning is different from what the speaker meant to say. A message that uses a “simile” or “metaphor” and is sent by confused user results in an inaccurate meaning of what the message originally meant. Confusion between the two terms, and an understanding of their respective meanings, are crucial in order to avoid complicated exchanges. Clear communication results from having a good understanding of the difference between “simile” and “metaphor.”      

What does “Simile” mean?

A “simile” is a noun. It is part of a figure of speech used to add emphasis or vividness to descriptions by comparing one thing with another of a different kind. A “simile” is a term that describes something by making a contrast. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a “simile” is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things that are often introduced by ‘like’ or ‘as’. Usually, the words “like” or “as” are used when employing a “simile.” The word “simile” came from the Latin word “similis” which translates to “like.” The first known use of “simile” was during the 15th century. A “simile” is used to assist in describing one thing by comparing it to another that seems unrelated at first. “Similes” are effective analogies that stimulate the mind. “Similes” help writers create vivid images, arouse feelings or memories, and clarify or further explain concepts through comparison. “Similes” assist readers in relating to the material and gaining a deeper grasp of the subject. An example of a “simile” is “The twins fight like cats and dogs.” The example describes how the twins are compared to the common characteristic of quarreling cats and dogs. Another example of a “simile” is, “Rico is as tall as a tower.” The example shows that Rico’s height was compared to the height of a tower, implying that Rico is tall.   

What are the types of “Similes”?

There are two types of “similes.” The first type is those that use ‘as’ in comparing two things. For instance, “Roldan is as white as a ghost.” The examples show that the phrase “as white as a ghost” is a simile. Roldan’s characteristic of being white is compared to the perceived whiteness of a ghost. The two things being compared in the sentence were Roldan’s skin color and the color of a ghost. The second type of “simile” is those that use ‘like’ in comparing two things. An example of using ‘like’ includes, “Joseph walks like a snail.” The example describes that the phrase “walks like a snail” is a “simile.” Joseph’s walking was compared to a snail, which is understood as being slow. The two things in comparison were Joseph’s walking and the snail’s slow movement when crawling. Two things are compared to each other when employing a simile. Thus, when using a simile, make sure to have a thing that is compared to another that shares the same characteristics.    

How to use the “Simile” word in sentences properly?

Listed below are the tips for writing a simile properly and using a simile in a sentence.

  • Think of one thing and what to describe it: The first step in composing a simile and using a simile properly in a sentence is to think of a subject. Writers must follow the step of choosing and selecting the object, character or setting that a writer wanted to write about and describe. Selecting the elements to be subjected to for comparison comes first.
  • Think of a second thing that shares the same or similar characteristics as the first thing: The second step is to think of the second thing that shares the same quality or characteristic as the first thing that is subjected to comparison. However, the second step does not necessarily the same thing as the first because a “simile” is used to describe the subject by comparing the subject to a different thing. A writer needs to remember that the first and the second things must have something in common. 
  • Combine the two by following the format “X is like Y:” The next step is to combine by saying that the first thing is “like” the second thing. The “simile” must look like the first thing is as whatever as the second thing if the writer wanted to focus on a certain property in some cases.
  • Read and review the sentence: The last step is to read and review the “simile” if the structure is correct and coherent. Grammar and spelling must be checked.

The figure of speech known as a “simile” is utilized in situations in which two distinct entities are being compared to one another. It compared two things by attributing a quality of one to the other of the two things being compared. The words “like” and “as” are used to form “similes” in the context of comparison. “Similes” are the simplest to create and use in a sentence since the simplest form of comparison is “X like Y.” On the other hand, “metaphors” are figures of speech that employ vocabulary that is not literal to characterize an object or event in order to illustrate a point or draw a comparison. “Metaphors” are used to compare two things that are very different from one another. “Metaphors” are useful because they either clarify a situation or bring to light previously hidden connections between two seemingly unrelated ideas.

What does “Metaphor” mean?

A “metaphor” is a figure of speech that uses non-literal language to describe an item or action in order to clarify a point or draw a comparison. It is being used for the sake of rhetorical effect, referring to one thing while simultaneously addressing another. “Metaphors” offer clarification or reveal unnoticed connections between two dissimilar ideas. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “metaphor” is part of the figure of speech. It is a word or phrase literally to indicate one kind of purpose or idea is used in place of another to suggest similarity or resemblance between them.” “Metaphor” comes from the 16th century Old French word “metaphore,” which comes from the Latin “metaphora,” which translates to “carrying over.” The first known use of the term “metaphor” was during the late 15th century. “Metaphor” is used to directly compare two dissimilar items in order to assign the first a certain quality. An example of a “metaphor” is “The manager is an early bird.” The example shows that the manager is compared to an early bird. The two concepts are not alike, but share something in common. The manager was attributed to being an early bird, which implies that the manager comes to the office early. Another example of a “metaphor” is, “A call center agent is a night owl.” The sentence phrase means that a call center agent is someone who is active at night and takes a rest in the morning. The quality of an owl as a nocturnal bird is attributed to a BPO employee.       

What are the types of “Metaphors”?

The types of “metaphors” are “standard or absolute,” “implied,” “conceptual,” “dead,” “mixed,” and “extended (or sustained).” First, “standard or absolute metaphor” compares two things that have no obvious connection or relationship in making a point. A “standard or absolute metaphor” states that one concept or idea is another, making a direct comparison as if the concepts are synonymous with each other. An example of it is “Gerald is the apple in the pie.” The example shows that Gerald is directly referred to as the apple in the pie. Gerald is not an apple, much less a pie. Thus, a reader has to decipher that Gerald is important to the writer’s life as an apple is in a pie. Second, “implied metaphors” connect two unrelated objects without specifically naming one of them. For example, “The boss barked a warning at the employee.” The example of “implied metaphor” associates the boss with a dog, without implicitly mentioning the vehicle of the “metaphor.” Only when the reader is familiar enough with the object does the writer imply The example describes how a dog is known for barking, and the “implied metaphors” make sense. Third, “conceptual metaphors” explain one idea or abstract concept in terms of another. An example of it is “Time is gold.” The example indicates that both “time” and “gold” are conceptual objects. Fourth, “dead metaphors,” as the name implies, have lost potency and strength because of being overused or as a result of repetition. For instance, “You light up my world.” The example has been around for a long time, and it no longer has the same strength and value as a “metaphor.” Fifth, “mixed metaphors” are a synthesis of two or more “metaphors” that occasionally has an absurd result. For example, “The promotion has allowed the employee to spread her wings and really blossom.” The example shows that a comparison was made between both a bird and a flower to a promoted employee. The “metaphor” creates an odd combination that manages to get the point across, yet must be avoided. “Mixed metaphors” are helpful, but if not, “mixed metaphors” come off as awkward or even contradict what the writer is trying to say when attempting to be hilarious. Lastly, “extended (or sustained) metaphors” elaborate on similarity using descriptive language. “Extended (or sustained) metaphors” are the types of “metaphors” that appear in every stanza, line, paragraph, and section of a poem or blog post. An example of it is “Grace started by taking a snackable piece from the cheese block.” The “cheese block” in the sentence pertains to the overwhelming project that is taken on Grace one step at a time. “Grace finished the tasks and managed the project well by poking holes in the cheese chunk continuously throughout the scheduled work day.” is another example in the context of finishing a project. “Poking holes in the cheese chunk” refers to the gravity of the task. 

How to use “Metaphor” in English Sentences properly?

Listed below are the tips for writing a metaphor properly and using a metaphor in a sentence.

  • Choose the character, object, or setting: The first step is to choose the element for comparison. The writer must follow the process of choosing and selecting the object, character, or setting that they wanted to write about. Selecting the elements to be subjected to for comparison comes first. Choosing the element must answer the question, “how one is like the other?”  
  • Focus on the scene that is being described: The second step entails ensuring that the elements chosen from the first step are logical. The process subjects the elements to contrast by answering the question, “how one is unlike the other?” The second step ensures that the elements used in the metaphor are parallel and rational.  
  • Start placing the elements together: The juxtaposition of ideas is the subject of the third step. The method of the third phase implies that the fact of two things used in the comparison is seen or brought closer together, with an opposing effect. The process means that the two things are placed in proximity to one another.
  • Check for the rationality of the analogy: The fourth step is doing a check and balance. Good metaphors are those that are coherent. Checking for the rationality of the analogy used is subjecting the writer to double-check the relationship of one element to the other.
  • Extrapolate and check for spelling and grammar errors: The last step is to take the metaphor and expand the composition. The step necessitates the writer to expound and check for spelling and grammar errors as well as the overall structure of the metaphor. Moreover, the last step demands to infer or hypothesizing the unknown about one using the known of the other.  

A “metaphor” is a figure of speech that uses non-literal language to describe an item or action in order to clarify a point or draw a comparison. A “metaphor” is a figure of speech that, for the sake of rhetorical effect, it refers to one thing while simultaneously addressing another. It offers simplification or reveals unrecognized connections between two dissimilar ideas. “Simile,” on the other hand, is a figure of speech that is used when comparing two different things. “Similes” compare two things by attributing a characteristic of one element to another. “Similes” use ‘like’ and ‘as’ in comparison. “Similes” are the easiest way to construct and incorporate into a sentence because of the ‘X like Y’ format when making a comparison. “Similes” are easier to construct and use in a sentence compared to “metaphors.”   

How to differentiate “Simile” and “Metaphor” during speaking?

“Simile” sounds like and is pronounced, “si-muh-lee.” “Metaphor” sounds like and is pronounced, “meh-tuh-fur.” It is not difficult to differentiate between “simile” and “metaphor” during speaking. The two terms are pronounced differently from each other. Thus, when someone is talking, the listener easily identifies what is being referred to. However, when pertaining to the “simile” and “metaphor” as figures of speech, identifying whether a “simile” or a “metaphor” is imposed is easy as well. The listener must look for the keyword to easily differentiate that a sentence is using a “simile” or that a sentence is using a “metaphor.” A “simile” is easier to identify in a speaker or in a written context compared to a “metaphor.” Hearing the words “like” or “as,” signals the listener or reader that the speaker or writer is using a “simile” when someone is speaking and the context is making a comparison or that the topic is comparing two things. Compared to the more complicated format of “metaphor,” “simile” follows a short and easy-to-remember format. “Similes” are typically formatted with an “X is like Y” format.

Do people confuse the use of “Simile” and “Metaphor” while speaking?

The terms “simile” and “metaphor” are often confused with one another when people are speaking. The terms “simile” and “metaphor” are frequently confused with one another for the simple reason that they both serve the same purpose of comparing two different things. The word “simile” is used to describe something as being comparable to another thing, whereas the word “metaphor” is used to describe something as being another thing. As opposed to “metaphors,” which compare things in an implicit way, “similes” explicitly compare things by using an analogy. However, many people get the terms “simile” and “metaphor” mixed up, even though they both refer to the figurative language used to draw parallels between dissimilar concepts.

What is the difference between “Metaphor” and  “Simile” when used in comparison?

“Metaphors” and “similes” are used to draw analogies or used in comparisons, yet only one word distinguishes “similes” from “metaphors.” “Similes” compare things using the words “like” or “as” such as “Life is like riding a roller coaster.” However, “metaphors” describe the similarity clearly, such as “Love is a battleground.” A “metaphor” explicitly contrasts two different objects that are not the same but share a characteristic. Unlike a simile, “metaphor” expresses that something is different rather than using comparison words like “like” or “as.” “Simile” and “metaphor” are frequently confused and mixed up because “simile” and “metaphor” offer the same purpose of comparing two distinct things. Another example of a “simile” is, “Andrew’s hair color is as black as coal.” Moreover, “Karen’s eyes were diamonds.” is another example of a “metaphor.”    

Is there the same word used in sentences when using a “Simile” and “Metaphor”?

No, a “simile” and a “metaphor” do not interchangeably use the same word when it comes to their application in a sentence. The word “simile” is constructed, whereas the word “metaphor” follows a different format. People often get “simile” and “metaphor” mixed up because they both serve the same purpose, that is, to draw comparisons between two different things. On the contrary, “similes” are used to describe something in terms of how it is comparable to another thing, whereas “metaphors” are used to describe something in terms of how it is comparable to something else. In contrast to the implicit comparisons made by “metaphors,” “similes” make comparisons by using the words “like” or “as.” In contrast to “simile,” a “metaphor” uses non-comparative words to convey the idea that the two things being compared are not the same.

How to remember the difference between “Simile” and “Metaphor”?

Listed below are the tips to easily remember the difference between “simile” and “metaphor.”

  • Familiarize the meaning. One way to remember the difference between “simile” and “metaphor” is to be familiar with the concept’s meaning. “Simile” is a figure of speech used to add emphasis or vividness to descriptions by comparing one thing with another of a different kind. A “simile” is a term that describes something by making a contrast. On the other hand, “metaphor” is a figure of speech that uses non-literal language to describe an item or action in order to clarify a point or draw a comparison. A “metaphor” is used for rhetorical effect. It refers to one thing while simultaneously addressing another. Moreover, “metaphors” offer clarification or reveal overlooked connections between two varying ideas.
  • Notice the format. Another way to remember the difference between simile and metaphor is by noticing the format. A simile is distinguishable from a metaphor since it follows an “X is like Y” format.
  • Look for the keywords. Searching for the relevant keywords helps the writer better remember the distinction between “simile” and “metaphor.”  In contrast to a metaphor, which implicitly compares two distinct things without using comparison words, a simile explicitly uses comparison words such as “like” or “as.”
  • Observe the usage. Similes are used to describe something as being similar to another thing. Whereas metaphors are used to describe something as being something else.

List outro: “when do you use Metaphor vs Simile” -> Answer the question from the “meaning” point of view, shortly.

When to use “Simile” or “Metaphor”?

Use “simile” when comparing two things that share the same characteristics. “Similes” are used to describe something as being similar to another thing. A “simile” is used to assist in describing one thing by comparing it to another that seems unrelated at first. “Similes” are effective analogies that stimulate the mind. It helps writers create vivid images, arouse feelings or memories, and clarify or further explain concepts through comparison. Moreover, “similes” assist readers in relating to the material and gaining a deeper grasp of the subject. However, “similes” must not be used in situations or circumstances wherein literal language is needed, such as technical writing, because similes are a kind of figurative language. On the other hand, “metaphor” is used to directly compare two dissimilar items in order to assign the first a certain quality. Having a “simile” and a “metaphor” in a single sentence is nearly impossible. The two concepts are formatted and constructed differently, although “simile” and “metaphor” share the same purpose of making a comparison of two different things. A “simile” uses the comparison words, “like” or “as,” unlike an implicit comparison in “metaphor.” Using both simile and metaphor for a non-native English speaker to ease things is not suggested. Non-native English speakers have difficulty grasping the point and understanding the context of the “simile” or the “metaphor.” Moreover, non-native English speakers have the tendency to mix up and confuse “similes” with “metaphors” or vice versa.      

What are the example sentences for “Metaphor” and “Simile” differences?

Listed below are example sentences for metaphor and simile.

  • “The boss’ temper is as furious as a thunderstorm.” The example associates the boss’ temper with a thunderstorm. Specifically, the characteristic of being furious. The sentence used the similarity between two things, the boss’ temper and the thunderstorm, in making a “simile.”  
  • “The stars shine like diamonds.” The comparison word “like” is the keyword, making the example a “simile.” The example sentence shows that the stars are compared to diamonds. The similarity between the two is that both stars and diamonds shine. 
  • “After fighting, the brother treated his sister as cold as ice.” The phrase “as cold as ice” is the identifier. The treatment of the brother after fighting with the sister was associated with the quality of ice, which is cold. Meaning, that the brother is not paying the usual attention to the sister.  
  • “Mario’s calculus professor is as cool as a cucumber”. The phrase “As cool as a cucumber” is a “simile.” The example denotes that Mario’s professor is not strict and terror, as it is associated with the quality of a cucumber that is cool.   
  • “The president was as busy as a bee following the oath-taking.” The example sentence is a “simile.” The phrase “as busy as a bee” was the key to identifying that the example is a simile. The sentence made a direct comparison between the president and a bee, which share the same attribute of being busy. Bees are known to keep buzzing, thus, the quality is attributed to being busy. 
  • “After failing the test, the students are feeling blue.” The phrase “Feeling blue” is the “metaphor” used in the sentence. To say or use “feeling blue” means that someone is sad. The comparison is made between color and emotion. 
  • “An angry mother’s words cut deeper than a knife.” The phrase “An angry mother’s words” does not literally mean or transform into a sharp knife. The example sentence is “metaphor,” and the angry mother has said something hurtful to the child. 
  • “The new employee was fishing for compliments.” The phrase “new employee” is not truly casting a lure to hook compliments out of the ocean. Rather, the sentence is an example of a dead “metaphor” used to denote a desire for recognition.  
  • “Angela is drowning in a sea of grief after finding out that her partner cheated on her.” The example indicates that Angela is overwhelmed with grief that she feels helpless as if Angela is being pulled underwater. The “metaphor” signifies a great amount of grief.  
  • “The breakup made Maxine go through a rollercoaster of emotions.” The example sentence of “metaphor” describes a person’s emotion is unsteadiness and the phrase does not truly mean taking a ride on a rollercoaster. The implicit comparison was meant to describe that Maxine is going through a lot of different moods following the breakup.  

Why should Content Writers know the difference between “Simile” and “Metaphor”?

Content Writers must know the difference between “simile” and “metaphor” to correctly use the concepts in the article. Content writers who are familiar with and experts on how figures of speech such as “simile” and “metaphor” function to produce quality content. Moreover, when content writers know the difference between “simile” and “metaphor,” it helps and facilitates content writers’ provision of trust, expertise, and better communication that results in quality, trustworthy, and comprehensive content. Understanding the difference between “simile” and “metaphor” is important to convey clear communication and correctly use the figure of speech in content writing. Knowing the difference between “similes” and “metaphor” allows content writers to produce grammatically correct and coherent articles using the figure of speech. Content writers must use “similes” when describing something as being similar to another thing, whereas “metaphors” are used to describe something as being something else. 

Does Grammar Errors affect Search Engine Optimization Performance?

Yes, grammar errors influence Search Engine Optimization (SEO) performance. Errors in grammar and other types of typos have an effect on content marketing on two levels; the reader level and the search engine optimization (SEO) level. Poor grammar directly leads to a lack of trustworthiness, a bad user experience, and lower search rankings. Correct grammar and spelling do play a role in how well a website performs in search engines like Google, even though they are not direct ranking signals. Trustworthiness is impacted when there are grammatical errors. Users are going to stop trusting a website or webpage if it has poor grammar and spelling, so making sure to proofread everything is very essential. Search engines have started to use bot scanners that check for grammar and spelling mistakes to make sure that the content they index is correct. Therefore, errors in grammar have an effect on search engine optimization performance.

Is using “Metaphor”, or “Simile” wrong has a harmful effect on E-A-T?

Yes, using “metaphor” or “simile” wrong has a harmful effect on E-A-T. The E-A-T in SEO stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Manifesting good E-A-T both on and off of a website or webpage helps improve Google rankings. Using “metaphor” or “simile” incorrectly affects E-A-T. The E-A-T is concerned with trustworthiness, together with expertise and authoritativeness. It is one factor that Google uses to evaluate and assess the overall quality of a web page. Using “simile” or “metaphor” incorrectly manifests that a website or webpage does not display expertise in the matter and is not trustworthy in producing quality and accurate content. One has to make sure to use “metaphor” and “simile” correctly to prevent impacting E-A-T negatively. Understanding the meaning and difference between the two is helpful in using the concepts correctly, thereby, contributing to the E-A-T and SEO performance in general.  

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