Figures of speech – Simile and Metaphor

A figure of speech is a departure from the ordinary form of expression. It is employed to produce a greater effect.

There are four different kinds of figures of speech.

1. Those based on resemblance

Examples are: simile, metaphor, personification and apostrophe

2. Those based on contrast

Examples are: antithesis and epigram

3. Those based on association

Examples are: metonymy and synecdoche

4. Those depending on the construction of the plot

Examples are: climax and anticlimax


In a simile we make a comparison between two objects of different kinds. These two objects will have at least one point in common.

The righteous shall flourish as the palm tree. (Here a comparison is made between the righteous and the palm tree.)

Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale.

O my Love’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Love’s like a melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.

Here are some similes common in everyday speech.

  • as proud as a peacock
  • as cool as a cucumber
  • as hard as nails
  • as good as gold
  • as old as the hills
  • as clear as crystal


A comparison of two things of the same kind is not a simile.


A metaphor is an implied simile. It doesn’t state that one thing is like another or acts as another. Instead it says that the two things are one and the same. A simile, on the other hand, says that one thing is like another.

Thus, when we say, ‘She is like an angel’ we use a simile, but when we say ‘She is an angel’, we use a metaphor.

Examples are:

  • Life is a dream. (Metaphor)
  • Life is like a dream. (Simile)
  • The camel is the ship of the desert. (Metaphor)