Try sofatutor for 30 Days

Discover why over 1.6 MILLION pupils choose sofatutor!

Similes and Metaphors

Do you want to learn faster and more easily?

Then why not use our learning videos, and practice for school with learning games.

Try for 30 Days
Rating

Be the first to give a rating!
The authors
Avatar
Team Digital

Basics on the topic Similes and Metaphors

Similes and Metaphors – Introduction

Similes and metaphors are both considered types of figurative language, so both similes and metaphors can be called figures of speech.

What do metaphors and similes do? They are used to compare two things that are not actually alike. They do not have their literal everyday meaning, which means that the reader has to determine what the author is actually trying to say.

Authors often use similes and metaphors in poetry, drama and prose, to add detail, explain, express emotion or entertain readers by describing something they can visualise.

Metaphors – Definition

Metaphors compare two things by saying one thing is the other. The word metaphor comes from two Latin words - meta (meaning “beyond”) and phor (meaning “carrying”) to determine what the author is trying to say, you must carry the meaning of the word beyond its literal definition.

For example:

SEO_25689_02.svg

In this sentence, the computers are being compared to old dinosaurs, but not because they look like old dinosaurs! To understand the meaning, we need to look beyond the words. What is the author trying to say? Probably, that the computers are very old and slow, just like old dinosaurs!

Similes – Definition

The word simile comes from the Latin word similis, which means “similar” or “like”. Similes compare two things using the words ”like” or ”as”.

For example:

SEO_26613_01_UK.svg

In this sentence, the unicorn is being compared to candy floss. How do we know it is a simile? Because the unicorn and candy floss are compared using ”as”.

Similes and Metaphors – Examples

Now let’s practise! Can you determine these similes’ and metaphors' meaning?

  • Emma swims like a fish!
  • The baby was as cute as a kitten.
  • Jim’s heart is pure gold!
  • Kate said: “Thank you for helping me with my homework, Mum, you’re a superhero!”

What is the author trying to say here?

  • Emma is a really good swimmer.
  • The baby was extremely cute.
  • Jim is very kind.
  • Kate is especially grateful that her Mum helped her with her homework.

Similes and Metaphors – Lists

There are multiple stories and poems with similes and metaphors, and there are many different examples of each. However, there are some common metaphors and similes, such as ones that compare people to different animals. Check out this list of similes and metaphors below.

Similes Metaphors
as busy as a bee a night owl
as sly as a fox a bull in a china shop
as quiet as a mouse an elephant in the room
as brave as a lion a snake in the grass
to eat like a bird a fish out of water
like a dog with two tails to have eagle eyes

Similes and Metaphors – Summary

Metaphors and similes are both examples of figurative language. They are used to compare two things. Similes use like or as to compare things. Metaphors compare things by saying that one is the other.

Now seeing some metaphors and similes examples and a common similes and metaphors list, you can successfully compare and contrast metaphors and similes and their purposes! When someone asks you questions like “What are 5 examples of a metaphor?” or “What are 10 examples of similes?”, you’ll have the answer! If you want more practice, check out our similes and metaphors worksheets in PDF, as well as our fun similes and metaphors activities!

Want to learn more about figurative language? This interactive video is similes and metaphors, so you will be able to identify them. There are also videos that can teach you about hyperboles, onomatopoeia and personification. Check out more figurative language with our other videos.

Further Information on Similes and Metaphors

Frequently Asked Questions about Similes and Metaphors

What is the difference between similes and metaphors?
What are examples of similes and metaphors?

Transcript Similes and Metaphors

"Wow Koko! I can't believe we waited so long to visit Kakadu National Park, this place is amazing!” "Too bad Bertha decided to wait outside, this cave even has ancient writings!" "I know! Here it says, 'She shivered. Today was the day she would try to swim for the first time, and she was trembling like a horse who saw a rattlesnake. “You can do this, you’re a rock star,” she told herself. She jumped in and she felt a smile spread as wide as the Australian Outback across her face.' "But the drawing here shows they're talking about a hippo, what's the deal with the rattlesnake and rock star?" Let's help Pip and Koko understand the ancient writings by learning about similes and metaphors. Similes and metaphors are figures of speech that compare two things that are not actually alike. As the reader, it is important to determine what the author is actually trying to say in a text. These are types of figurative language that authors use to add detail, explain, express emotion and describe in a way readers can visualise making it more entertaining! Simile comes from the Latin word 'similis' which means similar or like and a simile compares two things using the words "like" or "as". For example, 'the unicorn was as pink and fluffy as candy floss' compares the unicorn's characteristics to candy floss. This tells us that the unicorn is very pink and very fluffy! Metaphor comes from the Latin words 'meta', which means beyond, and 'phor' which means carrying. It compares two things by saying one is the other, and doesn’t use like or as. That means you must carry its meaning beyond the words you see! For example, 'the computers at school are old dinosaurs' compares the age of the computers to senior dinosaurs. This tells us that the computers are very old and may not work quickly. Let's identify the similes and metaphors used in the cave's ancient writing and determine the meaning. The writing says: 'she was trembling like a horse who saw a rattlesnake'. Is this a simile or metaphor? Simile, because the author uses the word like to compare. What is the author trying to say? Since a horse would be very scared to see a rattlesnake, we can conclude that the author is expressing how scared she is to swim. Next, the writing says: 'you can do this, you're a rock star'. Is this a simile or metaphor? Metaphor, because the author is comparing by stating she is a rock star. What is the author telling the reader? She is trying to encourage herself to be successful, by calling herself a rock star, which is a person who has reached great success in their rock music career. Lastly, the writing says: 'she felt a smile spread as wide as the Australian Outback across her face.' Is this a simile or metaphor? Simile, because the author uses the word as to compare. What is the author telling the reader? Since the Australian Outback is a huge area, we can conclude that the author is stating she had a big smile and feels happy. Before we follow Pip and Koko as they keep exploring, let's summarise. Remember, similes and metaphors are 'figures of speech that compare two things that are not actually alike'. A simile compares two things using the words 'like' or 'as'. A metaphor compares two things by saying one is the other and doesn’t use like or as. Whilst reading, think: what is the author trying to tell the reader? Then, explain in your own words the literal meaning of the phrase. "Oh there you are Bertha! You'll never believe what we just found! Ancient writings that describe a story about a hippo just like you!"

Similes and Metaphors exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learnt? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video Similes and Metaphors.
  • Determine if the sentences are true.

    Hints

    As everyone has a different opinion, it is best to try and interpret what the author of a text intends it to mean. Otherwise, there are many different and conflicting interpretations of the text.

    There are 3 correct statements.

    Solution

    TRUE

    • Similes are used to make comparisons.
    • Authors use similes to add details, explain ideas, express emotions and make a text more entertaining.
    • Similes compare two things by using the words like or as.
    FALSE
    • As the reader, you should interpret similes however you like.

  • Identify similes and metaphors.

    Hints

    Metaphors compare two things by saying one thing is the other.

    Similes compare how two things are similar to each other by using the words like or as.

    Two examples are similes and two examples are metaphors.

    Solution

    SIMILES

    • The unicorn was as pink and fluffy as candy floss is an example of a simile because the author compares the unicorn and candy floss by using the word as.
    • She was trembling like the tail of a rattlesnake is an example of a simile because the author compares the subject and a rattlesnake by using the word like.
    METAPHORS
    • The teachers at school are old dinosaurs is an example of a metaphor because the author says the teachers actually are dinosaurs.
    • You can do this! You're a rock star! is an example of a metaphor because the author says the subject actually is a rock star.

  • Identify similes and metaphors.

    Hints

    Metaphors compare two things by saying one thing is the other.

    Similes compare how two things are similar to each other by using the words like or as.

    There are 3 similes and 1 metaphor.

    Solution

    Similes compare two things by using the words like or as:

    • My big brother is as strong as an ox!
    • She swims like a fish!
    • He is as quiet as a mouse.
    Metaphors compare two things by saying one thing is the other:
    • Her eyes were diamonds.

  • Connect the simile or metaphor to the meaning.

    Hints

    Similes and metaphors compare two things that are not exactly alike.
    Example: My grandmother is as wise as an owl.
    My grandmother does not actually look or behave like an owl.

    Think about what the simile or metaphor might mean, for example, is a pigsty a nice, pleasant environment or a dirty one?

    Solution

    The similes and metaphors with their meanings are shown below:

    • This place is a pigsty. It is very untidy and dirty here.
    • I'm a complete night owl. I like to be awake and active late at night.
    • I need to hit the books. I need to do some work.
    • They are like two peas in a pod. They are very similar.

  • Find key words for similes.

    Hints

    The unicorn was as pink and fluffy as candy floss is an example of a simile.

    The floor was like lava is an example of a simile.

    Not all descriptive sentences are similes.
    Example: I like lions, even though they are fierce is not a simile because it does not compare two things.

    There are two correct choices.

    Solution

    The words, like and as are key words that indicate something is a simile, they are used when comparing one thing to another.

  • Find the meaning of the simile or metaphor.

    Hints

    Similes compare two things using the words as or like.

    Metaphors compare two things by saying one thing is the other.

    Solution

    SIMILE

    • She is as cool as a cucumber means that she is calm and relaxed.
    METAPHORS
    • This test is a breeze means that the test is very easy.
    • It is music to my ears means that I have received very good news.