Difference Between Simile and Metaphor

Main Difference – Simile vs Metaphor

Simile and metaphor are two literary devices that are used in comparison. Similes and metaphors are often confused because both function as a comparison device. The main difference between a simile and metaphor is that simile uses connecting words such as ‘like’ and ‘as’ whereas metaphor does not. Therefore, a simile is a direct comparison while metaphor is a rhetorical comparison.

What is Simile

A simile is a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unlikely things by using connecting words such as ‘as’ and ‘like’. Similes, unlike metaphors, make an explicit comparison between two things. There are many clichéd similes that we use in everyday speech. The following sentences use these similes.

The water is clear as crystal.

Her face was white as a sheet.

He was sweating like a pig.

He moved as fast as lighting.

Similes are often used by authors to make unfamiliar things more similar or a familiar thing more unique. A good simile has the ability to make the reader think about an object in a new way. The following excerpts are some examples of similes from literature.

“…..she tried to get rid of the kitten which had scrambled up her back and stuck like a burr just out of reach.” — “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

“I would have given anything for the power to soothe her frail soul, tormenting itself in its invincible ignorance like a small bird beating about the cruel wires of a cage.” – “Lord Jim” by Joseph Conrad

“”The tire bumped on gravel, skeetered… and popped me like a cork onto pavement.” – “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

“My body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.” – “Araby’ by James Joyce

Difference Between Simile and Metaphor

The water is as clear as crystal.

What is Metaphor

A metaphor is a rhetorical literary device that compares two objects without the use of connecting words such as ‘like’ and ‘as’. It often makes an indirect, implied or hidden comparison between two unrelated objects. It uses one thing to mean another and makes a comparison between the two. The following phrases will help you to understand the function and the nature of metaphors.

Harry is the black sheep of the family.

She is an open book.

Her voice was music to my ears.

Metaphor is one of the most used figures of speech in literature. Given below are some examples of metaphors from literature.

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players.” – William Shakespeare

“Dying is a wild night and a new road.” – Emily Dickinson

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

“The rain came down in long knitting needles.” – Enid Bagnold

Main difference - Simile vs Metaphor

Her life is an open book.

Difference Between Simile and Metaphor


Simile is a literary device that involves the comparison of two different objects or actions.

Metaphor is a literary device where a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

Connecting Words

Similes use connecting words such as ‘like’ and ‘as’.

Metaphors do not use connecting words such as ‘like’ and ‘as’.


Similes make explicit comparisons.

Metaphors make implicit comparisons.Difference Between Simile and Metaphor- infographic

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