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Questions & Answers

How can we define a metaphor?

A metaphor is a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two things that have something in common. This similarity is highlighted usually to explain something in a better way. 

Some examples of metaphors could be the following:

Harry has a heart of gold (a heart that’s so precious that it’s valuable like gold)

His eyes are the blue ocean (the eye-color is blue just like the ocean)

Life is a rollercoaster (life is all about ups and downs and never-ending transformations)

Metaphors can be of four main types:

Standard: The ones that simply compare two things that could be thought of as similar, e.g. world being compared to a stage by Shakespeare.

Implied: The ones that simply compare two things that are not normally thought of as similar, but the comparison itself brings them together, e.g. hair compared to the softness of cotton balls or the dryness of straws.

Visual: The ones that do comparison through utilising the art of imagery; e.g. comparison the tallness of something with the height of a giraffe.

Extended: Comparison through visual metaphor extended through different lines and paragraphs.

Metaphors could, at times, be confused with similes. But be careful about that, as they are quite different. There’s a big difference between a metaphor and a simile. If you’re confused about their differentiation, read on!

Metaphors simply demonstrate one thing to be another, for instance:

The calm lake was a mirror

He is a shining star

The world's a stage and the people are mere actors.

In this sense, Thing A is simply thought to be Thing B as an act of comparison.

On the other hand, similes basically compare Thing A with Thing B using explicit vocabulary such as ‘like’ or ‘as’ in order to do the job. For instance:

Her face was as white as snow.

The luggage was as light as a feather

Danish and Sophia fought like cats and dogs

The concept is as clear as mud.

Best of luck with the application of this device to make your writing even more interesting!

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