Simile vs. Metaphor: How to Use Metaphor vs. Simile Correctly

Simile vs. metaphor! Writers don’t always have the luxury of supporting their texts with colorful illustrations, and so they need to come up with ways to paint pictures using only words. Two of the most famous methods that work very well are similes and metaphors. Both of them are widely used by writers to create mental images for their readers and make their texts more lively and interesting. Though they both include comparing something to something else, there is one difference.

Simile vs. Metaphor

When you use a SIMILE, you say that something is like or as something else. On the other hand, when you paint a picture by saying that something is something else, you use a METAPHOR.


  • SIMILE: He eats like a pig!
  • METAPHOR: Thanks for mailing those letters, you’re an angel.

How to Spot a Simile

Let’s say that a character in your story is in a very cold place. However, if you simply state that it’s very cold there, the text won’t be very powerful and won’t paint any pictures. To spark the readers’ imagination, you can make your character say, “It’s cold like in Antarctica here”. Everyone knows that it’s very cold in Antarctica, so your readers will have a better idea about what conditions you are talking about. And because you’re saying that something is like something else, this is a simile.

How to Spot a Metaphor

You can use the same comparison but state it differently: “It’s Antarctica here”. The character of your text isn’t actually in Antarctica; he simply compares the place where he is to it. Still, he says that something is something else. So, you have a nice little metaphor.


Although similes and metaphors are very effective when you want to make the readers feel certain emotions while they’re reading your text, you should be very careful not to overuse them. You won’t achieve good results if you’re comparing every single word in your sentence to something else. Also, be careful not to use cliches, e.g. cold as ice, quiet as a mouse.

How do you know exactly what is in front of you, a simile or a metaphor when you see one? If there’s an “as” or “like” in the sentence, then it’s a simile. If it’s just a comparison, without any “helping” words, then you have a metaphor.

Simile vs. Metaphor Examples

  • Her skin was as white as snow.
  • John sleeps like a baby all night.
  • She went on working in the pantry as quiet as a mouse.
  • She smelt like a rose too, the old woman thought.
  • Laughter is the music of the soul.
  • The computer in the classroom was an old dinosaur.
  • The detective listened to her tales with a wooden face.
  • I think that new singer is a diamond in the rough.

Simile vs. Metaphor Difference | Picture

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Simile vs. Metaphor: How to Use Metaphor vs. Simile Correctly?

Last Updated on March 15, 2021

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