How many times have you felt that two of your favourite teachers are as different as night and day? One is so outgoing and the other is so soft spoken, but both are excellent teachers. When you used the stark difference between night and day to describe the difference between two of your teachers you were making use of a figure of speech in English called a SIMILE.
Similes help to drive home a point forcefully when two disparate things are linked with a common feature between them. Similes make use of the words AS and LIKE to establish the common feature. Similes are among the many figures of speech used by writers and speakers to express themselves very clearly and in a colourful way.
Similes help in using a popular concept or idea or feeling to compare with what you want to say so that the reader is able to immediately recognise your point of view more easily. For instance, if you wanted to talk about your friend who is usually dirty you could describe her like this: ‘she is filthy’ or you can describe her like this: ‘she is as filthy as a pig.’ You will notice the second sentence carries much more meaning and the comparison to a pig, which is supposed to be filthy, immediately strikes a chord with anyone hearing the description.
Similes make use of a variety of animals, objects and things that are commonly identified by a vast majority of people so that the reader is able to quickly get a reference point for what the writer is trying to say. For instance, animals such as the tortoise and the snail are used to compare a person who is generally slow. Similarly, if a person is considered mad then he is compared to a hatter, a person once thought of as mad. Among things, a rock is used to compare someone who is solid or steady. Take this quiz and get into the colourful world of similes.