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Similes 02
If someone tells you that "The book is as old as the hills" they don't really mean that the book is millions of years old!

Similes 02

In English, similes are comparisons and are useful when writing creatively and constructing poetry. Let your imagination run riot and make up your own similes!

We have a tendency to think metaphorically. Can you spot the two metaphors in the sentences above? One is in the phrase "construct poetry", which imagines poetry as a building and the individual lines as the materials with which a poem is constructed. The other is in the phrase "let your imagination run riot", which compares the abstract imagination to an unfettered person or animal giving in to every whim, careless of potential destruction. This is also an example of personification, which is always metaphorical.

Similes, like metaphor, compare one thing to another, but always make the comparison explicit. Using similes rather than metaphor would look something like this: "She constructed her poem like a building, the poem's form like a frame, the lines like the building blocks." Or this: "Let your imagination run riot, like an unbridled horse in a vast prairie". Metaphor gives the reader the opportunity to imagine the comparison individually, whereas simile requires the writer to make the comparison more explicit.

See how well you know your similes by playing both this and Similes 01.

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1.
Which sentence contains a simile?
After the storm the sea became calm as a millpond
After the storm the sea became calm
After the storm the sea was calm
After the storm the waves subsided and all was calm
Be careful not to overuse similes. Although adding similes makes your writing more interesting, it would be quite dull if every sentence contained a simile
2.
Which sentence contains a simile?
He did not win the race; he came last
He did not win the race; he ran slowly
He did not win the race; he was as slow as a snail
He did not win the race; he was too slow
Try to use some of these similes when you write
3.
Which sentence contains a simile?
The moon looked like a ghostly galleon
The moon was a ghostly galleon
The moon was a silver globe
The moon was pale and silver
"The moon was a ghostly galleon" contains a metaphor, rather than a simile
4.
Which sentence contains a simile?
The apples were as green as grass
The apples were green and red
The apples were green
The apples were large and green
What is the difference between using a simile and using a mere statement such as "the apples were large and green"?
5.
Which sentence contains a simile?
The boy looked ill; he was pale and tired
The boy looked pale and ill
The boy looked pale and tired
The boy looked pale; he was as white as a sheet
Similes add description to your writing
6.
Which sentence contains a simile?
Algebra is about pi
Algebra is as easy as pie
Algebra is not easy
Algebra uses pi for calculations
Similes are figures of speech, helping you to write well
7.
Which sentence contains a simile?
The mountain air smelled as fresh as daisies
The mountain air smelled clean and fresh
The mountain air smelled clear and fresh
The mountain air smelled fresh
Have you ever smelled a daisy? What does "fresh" smell like? This simile is more often used to describe something which looks fresh (because daisies open up fresh every morning)
8.
Which sentence contains a simile?
It had not rained in the desert
The desert ground was dry
The desert was as dry as a bone
There was no water in the desert
Mentioning bones makes the reader think of skeletons and therefore death. Using imagery makes your writing more vivid
9.
Which sentence contains a simile?
The ancient book was kept under lock and key
The book in the library was as old as the hills
The book in the library was kept under lock and key
The old book was locked in the library
Some similes are hyperbolic. No books are as old as hills!
10.
Which sentence contains a simile?
The twins were as different as chalk from cheese
The twins were eating cheese
The twins were identical
The twins were not identical
Chalk and cheese works as a comparison because they are very different substances despite beginning with the same letters

 

Author:  Sue Daish

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