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Metaphor, simile, personification, metonymy

I want to show what I've learned about metaphor, simile, personification and metonomy. I hope you will enjoy it.


The term "metaphor" as the etymology of the word reveals, means transference of some quality from one object to another. The idea that metaphor is based on similarity or affirnity of two corresponding objects or notions. A metaphor states that A is B

Metaphors can be classified according to their degree of unexpectedness. Thus metaphors which are absolutely unexpected, i.e. are quite unpredictable, are called genuine metaphors. Those which are commonly used in speech and therefore are sometimes even fixed in dictionaries as expressive means of language are trite metaphors, or dead metaphors.

Structurally can be:




Metaphors are used to help us understand the unknown, because we use what we know in comparison with something we don't know to get a better understanding of the unknown. It makes speech, phrases more vivid.


Simile - the imaginative comparison of two unlike objects belonging to different classes. A simile states that A is like/as B.

Simile man shows us what we use in simile))

Sematically similies can be as a metaphor:

- genuine, based on some fresh analogy between two things.

- trite, the original figurative meaning of which has been forgotten due to the overuse ( blind as a bat, as sick as a dog)

Structurally similes can be:

- ordinary

-disgiused ( to resemble, to seem, to look like, to appear)

- prolonged ( A - B, B, B )


Observations on the Differences Between Similes and Metaphors

  • "Writers sometimes use similes and metaphors to help create a vivid image in the reader's mind. A simile compares two things using the word like or as.

Simile: My father grumbles like a bear in the mornings.

A metaphor also compares two things, but it does not use the word like or as.

Metaphor: My father is a bear in the mornings.

(English Language Arts Skills & Strategies: Level 8, Saddleback, 2005)

  • "The simile sets two ideas side by side; in the metaphor they become superimposed. It would seem natural to think that simile, being simpler, is older."
    (F.L. Lucas, Style. Macmillan, 1955)
  • "A simile is also a metaphor; for there is little difference: when the poet says, 'He rushed as a lion,' it is a simile, but 'The lion rushed' [with lion referring to a man] would be a metaphor; since both are brave, he used a metaphor [i.e., a simile] and spoke of Achilles as a lion. The simile is useful also in speech, but only occasionally, for it is poetic. [Similes] should be brought in like metaphors; for they are metaphors, differing in the form of expression."
    (Aristotle, Rhetoric, Book Three, Chapter 4. Translated by George A. Kennedy, Aristotle, On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse. Oxford University Press, 1991)
  • "Simile and Metaphor differ only in degree of stylistic refinement. The Simile, in which a comparison is made directly between two objects, belongs to an earlier stage of literary expression: it is the deliberate elaboration of a correspondence, often pursued for its own sake. But a Metaphor is the swift illumination of an equivalence. Two images, or an idea and an image, stand equal and opposite; clash together and respond significantly, surprising the reader with a sudden light."
    (Herbert Read, English Prose Style. Beacon, 1955)
  • "The relationship between simile and metaphor is close, metaphor often being defined as a condensed simile, that is, someone who runs like lightning can be called a lightning runner. Sometimes, simile and metaphor blend so well that the join is hard to find . . .."
    (Tom McArthur, The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Oxford Univ. Press, 1992)
  • "Metaphor conveys a relationship between two things by using a word or words figuratively, not literally; that is, in a special sense which is different from the sense it has in the contexts noted by the dictionary.  

    "By contrast, in simile, words are used literally, or 'normally.' This thing A is said to be 'like' that thing, B. The description given to A and to B is as accurate as literal words can make it, and the reader is confronted by a kind of fait accompli, where sense-impressions are often the final test of success. Thus 'my car is like a beetle' uses the words 'car' and 'beetle' literally, and the simile depends for its success on the literal--even visual--accuracy of the comparison."
    (Terence Hawkes, Metaphor. Methuen, 1972)


Personification is another variety of metaphor. According to Skrebnev personification is attributing human properties to lifeless object - mostly to abstract notions, such as thoughts, actions, intensions, emotions, seasons of the year.


I want to offer you personification from songs ( excuse me, but I can't paste the video, I can only give the reference(((



Metonymies are frequently used in literature and in everyday speech. Metonymy - the substitution of one object by another on the basis of their common existence in reality.


I am fond of Dickens. I collect old China.



This trope is of the same nature as metonymy. Antonomasia - a proper name used for a common one or vice versa.


Calling a lover Casanova, an office worker Dilbert, Elvis Presley the King, Bill Clinton the Comeback Kid, or Horace Rumpole's wife She Who Must Be Obeyed.

"I'm a myth. I'm Beowulf. I'm Grendel."

Semantically antonomasia can be genuine and trite.


Synecdoche is often treated as a type of metonymy. Synecdoche - the use of a part to denote the whole of vice versa.

Semantically can be genuine and trite.


All hands on deck.

white-collar criminals

The Difference Between Metonymy and Synecdoche

Metonymy resembles and is sometimes confused with the trope of synecdoche. While likewise based on a principle of contiguity, synecdoche occurs when a part is used to represent a whole or a whole to represent a part, as when workers are referred to as 'hands' or when a national football team is signified by reference to the nation to which it belongs: 'England beat Sweden.' As way of example, the saying that 'The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world' illustrates the difference between metonymy and synecdoche. Here, 'the hand' is a synecdochic representation of the mother of whom it is a part, while 'the cradle' represents a child by close association.

All these stylistic devices are the good way to express your emotins and fantasy.

We can see this vivid example in all literary works.

That is all, I hope everything is clear, and if anybody didn't know it, they would remember)

16 февраля 2013, 20:57



Everything is clear) There are all information that we should know, and a lot of INTERESTING and funny examples)
Marina, thank u for such an interesting presentation. I like the way u have created it. It's full of different examples and images that makes it easy to understand. The most I liked example of metaphor "like a patient etherized upon the table".
Marina, you did a good job. I like your presentation very much. Thank you for useful and interesting information.
examples are awesome! :) you've written a lot about simile and metaphor)
Great job!!! I think this presentation can be used on lessons, because everthing is clear. It has a good examples and pictures, that is important for general understanding. You presented all this information very interesting and correctly.
Marina, thank you for presentation. Your job is so easy to remember!All definitions and examples are clear.The pictures are so bright.I like you examples because they are vivid and looking at them you can remember the definitions of these stylistic devices. Also I like the video)
Wow very good presentation!))) Your examples are understandable and easy and pictures very creative, interesting .Thank you for your presentation.

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