Examples of Simile

Understanding simile examples can be key in literature and language. Gain a clear picture of this fun form of figurative language with this example list.

A simile is a figure of speech used to make comparisons between two things. Something is said to be ‘like’ something else in a simile. ‘Life is like a box of chocolates,’ for example. We provide a detailed definition of similes as well as literature examples.

What is a Simile in English?

what is simile?

You’ve probably heard of other language devices like hyperbole and metaphors, but what exactly is a simile in English?

In English, a simile is a literary device that directly compares two things to demonstrate their similarities.

A simile will usually include the words ‘like’ or ‘as’. To introduce them to children, use a phrase that compares two things to describe their subject (for example, ‘life’ can be described as similar to ‘a box of chocolates).

A useful trick for remembering this is that the word simile sounds similar to the word similar.’ This will help you remember that when we use similes, we are actually comparing two things!

A useful trick for remembering this is that the word simile sounds similar to the word similar.’ This will help you remember that when we use similes, we are actually comparing two things!

What are Some Simile Examples?

Examples of simile

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is a simile in English?” let’s look at some common examples. Some of these may sound familiar from the everyday conversation:

1. As cold as ice

2. Swim like a fish

3. As light as a feather

4. Fight like cats and dogs

5. As cool as a cucumber

6. Like two peas in a pod

7. As black as coal

8. Cheap as chips

9. As busy as a bee

10. I know this like the back of my hand

Using illustrations is an excellent way to assist kids to learn the answer to the question, “What is a simile in English?” While the term “simile” may be unfamiliar to them, they have almost certainly encountered a few similes in their daily interactions and speech!

Why Do We Employ Similes?

Similes, in addition to assisting us in drawing comparisons between different things, can be powerful language devices that can amplify the action in a story or the meaning of a text.

Consider the following example, where the similes are highlighted in bold:

The cracked earth was as dry as sandpaper. Suddenly, lightning forked in the sky like fluorescent veins. The sky darkened to a moody grey and thunder roared like an angry lion. Rain sluiced down from the sky, drenching the parched earth.

Similes are used in this passage to create vivid images in the reader’s mind. There are many references to nature in similes and metaphors.

When you consider how long the English language has been evolving, it makes sense, because we have always had the natural world as a source of reference and inspiration.

What are Some Famous Literary Simile Examples?

Now that we’ve defined similes, examples from literature can help us gain a better understanding of how similes work in practice.

Here are some examples of how famous authors have used similes to bring descriptions to life:

‘I am as constant as the Northern Star, Of whose true fixed and resting quality there is no fellow in the firmament.’ – William Shakespeare, ‘Julius Caesar’

‘…if you lament over him much longer, my heart will be as light as a feather.’ – Jane Austen, ‘Pride and Prejudice’

‘Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret and self contained and solitary as an oyster.’ – Charles Dickens, ‘A Christmas Carol’

‘I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills.’ – William Wordsworth, ‘Daffodils

O my Luve is like a red, red rose, That’s newly sprung in June.’ – Robert Burns, ‘A Red, Red Rose’

‘Dumbledore’s silver hair was the only thing in the whole hall that shone as brightly as the ghosts.’ – J.K. Rowling, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’

What is the Difference Between a Simile and a Metaphor?

Now that we’ve determined what a simile is in English, let’s look at what distinguishes it from a similar language device: metaphors.

Both similes and metaphors are comparisons of two things. The main distinction is that a simile includes the words “like” or “as,” whereas a metaphor compares two distinct things:

Simile: She is as gentle a dove.

Metaphor: She is a dove.

Simile: The world is like a stage.

Metaphor: The world is a stage.

Final Thoughts

Simile as a figure of speech is simply a comparison between unalike objects with the use of “like” and “as”. It is different from metaphor in that the latter does not employ the use “like” or “as”. The figure of speech is used by literary writers to add aesthetics to their writings, etc.

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