What Is a Metaphor? How to Use Metaphors in Your Writing


What is a metaphor? A metaphor is a figure of speech that compares two, unlike things. It is used to make a point or to add color and depth to your writing. Metaphors can be powerful tools but must be used correctly to have the desired effect. This post will discuss metaphors and how you can use them in your writing. We’ll also look at common metaphors and see how they can be used effectively. Let’s get started!

What is a metaphor?

A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes an object or action in a way that isn’t true but helps explain an idea or make a comparison. In other words, a metaphor is when you use one thing to represent another. A metaphor is a figure of speech in which one thing is directly compared to another, without using the word “like” or “as.”

Here is the official webster definition of metaphor.

Here are the basics:

  • A metaphor is a figure of speech in which one thing is represented as another.
  • Metaphors help you to communicate more effectively.
  • They make your language more colorful and interesting.
  • A well-placed metaphor can add depth to an idea.
  • Metaphors are a great way to avoid being too literal.

Related Article: How To Learn A New Language Fast (2022)

How to Come Up with a Metaphor

One of the best ways to develop a good metaphor is to think about something hard to describe.

For example, if you describe someone as very intelligent, you might say they are “smart as a whip.” This metaphor expresses the idea that the person is quick-thinking and sharp without having to use those words directly.

Similarly, if you want to describe someone as very angry, you might say they are “red in the face.” This metaphor conveys that the person is so angry that they are almost physically boiling with rage.

Of course, there are endless other possibilities – it’s really up to your imagination. So next time you struggle to describe something, try thinking of a metaphor that captures its essence. You might be surprised at how well it works.

Metaphor vs. Simile

When it comes to writing, all sorts of figurative language and literary devices can be used to add depth and meaning to a piece. Two of the most commonly confused devices are metaphors and similes. 

Both are ways of comparing two things, but there is an important distinction between the two. A metaphor is a figure of speech in which one thing is directly compared to another, without using the word “like” or “as.”

For example, if you were to say, “She was a lioness on the basketball court,” you would use a metaphor to compare the woman’s fierce competitiveness to that of a lion.

On the other hand, if you were to say, “She played like a lioness on the basketball court,” you would use a simile to make the same comparison. 

Choosing between a metaphor and a simile often comes down to personal preference. However, both can be effective tools for adding color and dimension to your writing.

Examples Of Metaphors

Metaphors are a way of describing something using language that isn’t literal. For example, you might say “love is a battlefield” to describe how challenging and difficult it can be. Or you might say “bob is a couch potato” to describe his laziness.

In each case, the metaphor provides a way of understanding something that might be hard to describe in literal terms. And while some metaphors can be pretty silly if you take them at face value, they often provide a powerful way of conveying complex ideas.

List of metaphors

When used well, metaphors can add color and life to your writing. Here are some examples of metaphors:

Black sheep of the family.
  1. It’s showtime. (It’s time to start).
  2. I could eat a horse. (I am very hungry.)
  3. It all went pear shaped.  (To go wrong.)
  4. It’s no skin off my nose.  (I don’t mind it, but it might bother others).
  5. She is an open book. (She has nothing to hide.)
  6. He wears his heart on his sleeve. (He expresses his feelings openly.)
  7. She was the black sheep of the family. (The outcast of the family.)
  8. He was a fish out of water. (He feels awkward because of a situation that is not familiar.)
  9. You are the Apple of my eye. (You are proud or fond of that person.)
  10. Blanket of snow. (The snow is thick enough to hide the actual objects and their shapes, just as a blanket would conceal the objects it is covering.)

Metaphors: simplify complex topics

Metaphors can be a great way to simplify complex topics and make them more relatable. By using metaphors in your writing, you can help your readers understand what you’re trying to say while also adding some levity or flair.

As with all aspects of good writing, practice makes perfect. So start looking for opportunities to work metaphors into your next blog post, email, or social media update—you may just be surprised at how well they resonate with your audience. Have you ever used a metaphor in your writing? What was the result?

Creative Writing Tutors on Symposium

You may be wondering how you can become a better writer and create accurate and interesting metaphors.

Luckily, Symposium has creative writing tutors who are here to help you master your craft. In addition to learning from our experts, practice makes perfect! Keep a journal of the metaphors you come up with, even if they’re not perfect. The more you write, the better your skills will become.


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