A Quick Refresher in Figures of Speech, Part 1: Similes and Metaphors

Figures of speech are ways of putting together words or phrases to tell a story more vibrantly and vividly, like painting a picture with words. If you wish your reader to taste, feel, smell, and hear the scenes you’re describing, figures of speech are indispensable, as otherwise the storytelling falls flat and feels lifeless. Breathe life back into your writing with these figures of speech:

Simile (sim-uh-lee) – The comparison of two unlike things. Word combinations commonly used in similes are as a, like a, is like, are as, and are like.

Examples

The guy laughs like a hyena. (Is this hilarious or irritating?)

She’s as hairy as a Sasquatch. (Get her a comb.)

That kitten’s claws are like razors. (But you shouldn’t shave your legs with them.)

My legs are as long as Kermit the Frog’s

My husband’s breath is like a corpse’s fart. (Must. Buy. Binaca.)

Metaphor (met-uh-for) –  Similar to similes, but with this difference; a metaphor does not contain the words like or as. A metaphor compares two things that are completely different, implying that they are the same.

Examples

Johnny is a lion in bed! (Do you think he needs taming?)

My fingers are icy pops. (Baby, it’s cold outside.)

Her lips are huge hotdogs. (Back away from the plastic surgeon, ma’am.)

Your opinions are hard to swallow. (So stop trying to shove them down my throat.)

You are so bitter! (But in the sweetest way possible.)

I’d go into Mixed Metaphors, but then I’d have to get all my ducks on the same page, so I’ll send you over to Jim Carlton’s website for some mixed metaphor madness!

Here’s your homework, and I want you to be a creative genius with this. That means don’t be cliché and write things like “as quiet as a mouse”. Go!

Write 10-20 similes.
Write 10-20 metaphors.
Throw in a few mixed metaphors for brownie points.

When you’re done with your homework, save it and keep it handy somewhere so you can borrow from your own lists the next time you feel stuck in Blah-Blah Land.

Tomorrow we’ll continue with Onomatopoeia. Say that ten times, fast!

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