Difference Between Metaphor and Personification

Main Difference – Metaphor vs Personification

Metaphor and personification are two rhetoric devices that are used to convey something more than a literary meaning of a sentence. Personification involves attributing human characteristics to a non-human being or object, or representing an abstract quality in human form. Metaphor is an indirect comparison between two unrelated things without using connecting words such as like or as. This is the main difference between metaphor and personification.

This article explains,

1. What is a Metaphor? – Meaning, Features, and Examples 

2. What is Personification? – Meaning, Features, and Examples

3. What is the difference between Metaphor and Personification? 

Difference Between Metaphor and Personification - Metaphor vs Personification Comparison Summary

What is Personification

Personification is the act of attributing human characteristics to non-living things. It can also refer to the representation of an abstract quality in human form. Human characteristics such as feelings, emotions, appearances, motives and actions can be used to create this literary device.

Although the writer describes a quality of some non-human being or object by using human characteristics, the object or the being that is being described does not really possess this characteristic. For example, a writer can describe a flower by saying that the flower dances in the wind, but what really happens here is that the writer is attributing the human action of dancing to the flower since its movement in the wind is similar to dancing.  Given below are some examples of personification.

The old house creaked and groaned with every gust of wind.

The chocolate cake was calling my name.

The car roared to life.

Misfortune stalked him his entire life.

The heavens wept at the injustice.

The sun played side and seek with the clouds.

Difference Between Metaphor and Personification

Flowers dancing in the wind

What is a Metaphor

A metaphor is a literary device that makes an indirect comparison between two unrelated things without using connecting words such as like or as. A metaphor states that one thing is the other unlike a simile, which states that one thing is like another. A metaphor transfers the sense or aspects of one word or phrase to another so that the second word can be understood in a new way. It also makes one thing become something very different by renaming it. For example, look at the metaphor in the sentence “Life is a journey.” Here, the first word is renamed by the last word.

Given below are some more examples of metaphors.

Susan’s voice is velvet.

His stomach was a bottomless pit.

Sun was a ball of fire.

Food is the fuel for a healthy body.

He is the light of my life.

Lord Eddard was a lion in the battlefield.

Main Difference - Metaphor vs Personification

Sun is a great ball of fire.

Difference Between Metaphor and Personification


Metaphor: Metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

Personification:Personification is the attribution of human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.


Metaphor: Metaphor makes an indirect comparison between two different and unrelated things.

Personification: Personification attributes human characteristics to something nonhuman.

Human Characteristic

Metaphor: Metaphor does not always use a human or human characteristic.

Personification: Personification always used a human characteristic.

Image Courtesy:

“Great ball of fire” by   via

“Blowing in the wind – geograph.org.uk – 711606″ By Steve F via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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