A metaphor is a comparison between two unlike things not using the word “like” or “as” to make the comparison. The greater the difference between the two things being compared, the better the metaphor. For example, if one were to say that “Football is baseball,” that would not be a good metaphor, because football and baseball are both sports. However, if one were to say that “football is chess,” that would generally be considered a better metaphor because there is a greater difference between football and chess than football and baseball.
The detective listened to her tales with a wooden face.
She was fairly certain that life was a fashion show.
The typical teenage boy’s room is a disaster area.
Kisses are the flowers of love in bloom.
His cotton candy words did not appeal to her taste.
Kathy arrived at the grocery store with an army of children.
Waves of spam emails inundated his inbox.
Her eyes were fireflies.
He wanted to set sail on the ocean of love but he just wasted away in the desert.
I was lost in a sea of nameless faces.
The cast on Michael’s broken leg was a plaster shackle.
The promise between us was a delicate flower.
He pleaded for her forgiveness but Janet’s heart was cold iron.
The job fair was a circus and John was a dancing bear.
Katie’s plan to get into college was a house of cards on a crooked table.
Laugh a drink from the deep blue cup of sky.
The job interview was a rope ladder dropped from heaven.
Her hair was a flowing golden river streaming down her shoulders.
The computer in the classroom was an old dinosaur.
Laughter is the music of the soul
You can paint strong word pictures by comparing two things that share some qualities. A simile is a comparison of two things that have some quality in common.A simile contains a word such as like, as, resembles, or than. A metaphor is a comparison of two things that does not use like, as, resembles, or than. Instead, it states that one thing actually is something else.
When my brother makes dinner, the kitchen looks like a battleground.
The sink, filled with dirty dishes, is as crowded and messy as a junkyard.
The counter tops are a nightmare of stains, spills, and potato peelings.
With like, as, resembles, or than
kitchen / battleground; sink / junkyard
Without like, as, resembles, or than
counter tops / nightmare
A. Identifying Similes and Metaphors
Underline the two items being compared in each sentence. Then write S if the comparison is a simile and M if it is a metaphor.
_____ 1. The rain felt like small kisses on Rosemary’s face.
_____ 2. The moon was a ball of green cheese.
_____ 3. My cousin’s baby is a perpetual motion machine.
_____ 4. When Evan blushes, his round face resembles a stop sign.
_____ 5. The news was more shocking than a thousand volts of electricity.
_____ 6. “An increase in my allowance is as necessary as carrying water in the desert,” Sarah argued.
_____ 7. When he slam-dunks a basketball, Rich is a pouncing leopard.
_____ 8. The fabric was darker than a moonless night.
_____ 9. The audience watching the movie was like a zooful of noisy animals.
_____10. An ocean of clothes tumbled out of the closet when I opened it.
B. Similes and Metaphors in Action
Identify each sentence as a simile or a metaphor. Then explain the meaning of the comparison.
1. The classroom was a hive of worker bees. (simile / metaphor)
2. Traveling to other countries is like trying on other lives. (simile / metaphor)
3. Getting my little sister dressed for school is more complicated than a rocket launch. (simile / metaphor)
4. My grandfather’s hands are road maps of wrinkles. (simile / metaphor)
5. The seven-layer sandwich resembled a skyscraper. (simile / metaphor)
6. The news was as unpleasant as a dose of cough medicine. (simile / metaphor)
7. The bathrobe was softer than a puppy’s fur. (simile / metaphor)
8. When it comes to keeping secrets, Harry is a chattering parrot. (simile / metaphor)
9. “That pile of dirty laundry is a science experiment,” my mother complained. (simile / metaphor)
10. My plan to raise money for the French club turned out to be as popular as a sardine and cinnamon pizza. (simile / metaphor)