Metaphor, Simile, and Analogy: What’s the Difference?

Metaphor, Simile, and Analogy: What’s the Difference?

Reader Comments (47)

  1. “…as long as the metaphors don’t suck”

    Indeed. I hope you cover sporting metaphors in that post…


  2. A simile can be very effective as a set-up to a question, making a nice transition from one thought to the next.

    Using Brian’s example:

    He’s like a shell of a man. Why? Because (your scintillating illumination here.)

    A simile almost begs for further explanation. A metaphor is more emphatic with a “there you are” quality.

  3. I’ve used analogies a lot in my life. Learning the use of metaphors well will help me to still speak creatively, yet keep my audience interested!

  4. More examples, please, for us of the linguistically deficient… oh, and MORE COWBELLS!

  5. Using analogies come as second nature for a former Literature student like me. It helps inject a visual in the audiences’ minds. I’m glad I found you. I can only wish I discovered you earlier.

  6. I agree with Pat Law, who probably clearly points out in one sentence the entire point of this post related to marketing:

    “Using analogies…helps inject a visual in the audiences’ minds.”

  7. ‘A metaphor carries so much more power than a simile, because it’s.. straight on the face.. that’s what i love about it!!

  8. Using analogies come as second nature for a former Literature student like me. It helps inject a visual in the audiences’ minds. I’m glad I found you. I can only wish I discovered you earlier.

  9. Am I the only one that thinks that a venn diagram would help explain the relationship.

  10. Nice. Like Ice cream.
    Wondering how you, bhai saab, would convert the above ‘simile’ to a ‘metaphor’, barring the fact that simile is like a metaphor?

  11. Nish… Venn diagrams… are they still around?
    John Forde… I agree wholeheartedly… short enough?
    Oh, and… MORE COWBELLS!

  12. While reviewing a post I am writing about hunting or farming in sales, a suggestion was made to shift from analogy to metaphor. Even though the simile preexisted my article, not getting lost in the analogies is important to maintain the focus.

    I came here to sort that out and did. Thanks!

  13. So I correctly described myself on profiles as “metaphorically inclined” Googled it. Found this post and thought I better make sure had it right… lol… Thanks for posting. Following you on Twitter already by the way. This was pure “coincidence” if there was such a thing. Cheers.

  14. To Roberta Rosenberg:
    Could you give me the distinguishing characteristics between an analogy and an allegory? I believe that I was “schooled today;” (Which is GREAT as far as I’m concerned-love it when they are thinking.) I have stated in the past that Animal Farm is an ANALOGY to the Russian Revolution, but now, I’m beginning to think it is actually an ALLEGORY to the Russian Revolution. My thinking now is that PARTS of the novel are ANALOGOUS, but the ENTIRE NOVEL is an ALLEGORY of the Russian Revolution. Any ideas out there?

  15. Karen, that’s correct. Animal Farm is allegory — a story where the literal narrative is designed to convey, represent, or teach something else; often something more abstract, like values or ethics. Biblical parables are also a good example of allegory.

    An analogy is using an example to explain something else by showing how the two situations are similar. Not a full blown story like allegory, but more elaborate than a metaphor, in which a non-literal meaning is expressed in a single word or short phrase.

  16. Unfortunately, this information you post here about a simile being a metaphor is incorrect. The words you use in your own explanation are proof of this. Allow me to show you.

    1. You define “Metaphor” as a “figure of speech,” which it is. You explain its purpose as being draw a comparison between two very different things. Also accurate.

    2. But you stray from your own line of logic when you define a “simile.” Note that in your own definition of simile you state that it compares two different things, just as a metaphor does. Also note that your definition of metaphor explains that its function–to compare two dissimilar things–makes it a figure of speech. However, the flaw in your explanation occurs when you disallowed a simile to be properly identified also according to its function–to compare two dissimilar things–which makes it also a figure of speech.

    Where you are in error is your understanding of the broader term beyond the words “simile” and “metaphor.” It is true that “irony” is a broader term than “sarcasm,” which is a specific form of irony. However, a simile and metaphor are both figures of speech that differ in the specific form they take syntactically when they express a figure of speech.

    So a person would be incorrect in saying, “All similes are metaphors, but not all metaphors are similes.” This is simply not true because a metaphor is not a broader term that contains the simile form. The correct way to form this sentence is as follows: “All similes are figures of speech, but not all figures of speech are similes.”

    Thank you.

  17. I was wondering if anyone here could help me with converting metophors,anaolgies, and similies more into not only my story writing! Ha but my speech and perhaps songwriting??
    I’m fairly younger than I think most of the ppl on here lol some mentioned being out of school. I’m still in high school. Ha

  18. I swear, these lines had me laughing uncontrollably for 3 mins straight… its complexity so genius

    “For fun, the next time someone corrects you and says “That’s a simile, not a metaphor,” you can respond by letting them know that a simile is a type of metaphor, just like sarcasm is a type of irony. Resist the urge to be sarcastic in your delivery.”

  19. this is incredibly helpful. i feel that is does a very good job of explaining these differences clearly.

  20. For those in need of a mental image… Never let your Alligator mouth overload your Hummingbird butt.

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