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A simile is among the most popular figures of speech used in English language communication across the world. You will also be tested upon this topic in international-level English proficiency tests. Understanding how similes work can be a great way to boost your language skills and comprehension.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about similes!
What is a Simile?
- A simile is a figure of speech that is used to compare two unlike things with the words “like” or “as”,
- Similes help you compare a person, object, or event to another that is seemingly unrelated.
- Similes typically use exaggeration to emphasize certain characteristics of the described object.
- This is, therefore, an excellent tool to make writing memorable and exciting without any loss of clarity.
- English authors and speakers across the world have also been recognized for their use of simile to introduce concrete and abstract concepts.
How Can I Use a Simile?
- Similes are often used with the basic formula – “A is like B” or “A is as adjective as B”. Sticking to similar formulae in everyday communication can help you use similes to deliver understanding.
- A simile is also designed to paint a picture in the mind of a specific person or situation. An image can be described vividly with the use of the right simile.
- It is, however, essential to use similes sparingly in your writing and speech. Too much of this literary device can be a cause of distraction, directing the reader’s attention to another concept.
20 Examples of Simile Used in Everyday Communication!
To better reinforce your understanding of how similes are used, here are 20 examples of this literary tool:
- She was as cool as a cucumber.
- Don’t be fooled, he is as cunning as a fox.
- My mother may seem scary and strict, but she is as gentle as a lamb.
- The two siblings fought like cats & dogs.
- Watching this new show is like watching grass grow.
- She dances like a gazelle.
- Her explanation was as clear as mud.
- My cat’s teeth are as sharp as a razor.
- My grandmother eats like a bird.
- Her sister sings like an angel.
- That was a horrible sound! Almost like nails on a chalkboard!
- Their house is as clean as a whistle.
- Her love for mysteries is as deep as the ocean.
- Her happy face was like the moon on a summer night.
- My father is as wise as an owl.
- She is as innocent as a kitten.
- Because of his new position in the company, he is as busy as a bee.
- Painting that picture was as easy as pie!
- Her sense of humor is as sharp as a razor.
- In his new blanket, he was as snug as a bug in a rug!
Examples of Simile in Literature
From Shakespeare to Charles Dickens, several renowned authors across the ages have used similes in original and creative ways. This tool has also significantly helped accessorize some of the most popular works of literature studied today.
Here are some examples of simile used in classic literature:
- “Or fester like a sore – And then run?” – Langston Hughes (Harlem)
- “O my Luve is like a red, red rose / That’s newly sprung in June; / O my Luve is like the melodie / That’s sweetly played in tune.” – Robert Burns (A Red, Red Rose)
- “Is love a tender thing? It is too rough, too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like a thorn.” – Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet)
- “Either way, or both, he died like a bug under a microscope.” – Stephen King (The Long Walk)
- “He had a broad face and a little round belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.” – Clement Clarke Moore (A Visit from St. Nicholas)
- “Love sets you going like a fat gold watch.” – Sylvia Plath (Morning Song)
- “From the earth, thou springest like a cloud of fire.” – Percy Bysshe Shelley (To a Skylark)
- “The cafe was like a battleship stripped for action.” – Ernest Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises)
- “She weeps like a wench that had shed her milk.” – Shakespeare (All’s Well That Ends Well)
- “And life is too much like a pathless wood Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs.” – Robert Frost (Birches)
What is the Difference Between a Simile and a Metaphor?
Very often, the simile and metaphor are often confused with one another. Understanding how to distinguish between the two is one of the best ways to use both figures of speech effectively and without errors.
- A simile is typically the comparison between two things that are not alike. The words “like” and “as” are used to draw the comparison.
- Metaphors, on the other hand, are comparisons of two things that are not alike without the use of the words “like” or “as”.
- A simile is used to paint a picture in the reader’s mind, while also providing an example for clarification.
- A metaphor is designed to only paint a picture in the reader’s mind.
- In a simile, the subject is as or like another.
- In metaphors, the subject is said to be another.
To better understand the difference between the two, here are 3 examples:
- Simile – She is as loving as an angel.
Metaphor – She is an angel.
- Simile – In his family, he is as bright as the sun.
Metaphor – He is the sun of the family.
- Simile – He is as slippery as a snake.
Metaphor – He is a snake.
- Similes are among the most popular figures of speech used in everyday language and conversations.
- Understanding how a simile works can be a great way to increase your language and comprehension skills.
- Similes have also been used by several authors in classic literature.
- The difference between a simile and metaphor lies in the use of words such as “like” and “as”.
- Learning about similes can also help you clear English proficiency tests to pursue academic and professional opportunities overseas!
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Q1. Are similes more obvious than metaphors?
Answer – Absolutely! Similes are relatively more obvious than metaphors because of the use of the words “like” and “as”.
Q2. How can the use of similes improve my creative writing?
Answer – Using similes wisely can be a great way to make your writing descriptive and enjoyable, adding significant depth to emphasize a message or concept.
Q3. Is a simile considered a type of idiom?
Answer – Similes fall in the same type (figurative language) as idioms.