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Idioms and metaphors are so very much alike that it is very easy to confuse them. There is a way, however, to tell the difference.
Idioms are words or phrases that say one thing but mean something else.
For example, to say “She’s sharp as a tack,” does not really mean she’s a tack but, rather, it means her mental state is very good.
Metaphors are figures of speech that relate one thing with another thing. In other words, two things are compared to each other. For example, “life can be a circus”. This compares life with a circus.