Monday, February 10, 2014

Clichés, Similes, and Metaphors

Recently, I was asked what the difference was between these three literary terms. 

Here's the short answer
A cliché is a phrase or an idea that has been repeated too many times, a simile likens something to another (this is like that; this is as big as that), and a metaphor says something is another (this is that...but not literally).
Cliché: The pen is mightier than the sword.
Simile: The pen is like a sword.
Metaphor: The pen is a weapon.

Cliché: That's like the pot calling the kettle black.
Simile: The pot is like a black kettle.
Metaphor: The pot is a black kettle.

Cliché: He couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.
Simile: His shooting is as bad as aiming for the broad side of a barn and missing.
Metaphor: His bullets are missing the broad side of a barn.

Cliché: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Simile: These lemons can be as sweet as lemonade.
Metaphor: Lemons are lemonade.

Cliché: It's raining cats and dogs.
Simile: The rain is so heavy today, it's like cats and dogs.
Metaphor: It's raining cats and dogs.

Your turn! Try turning the following clichés into similes and metaphors, or make up your own:
Make like a tree and leave.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof. 
Since most people feel clichés are overused, it's best to avoid them. If you can put a new spin on them, though, go for it! Similes and metaphors can be used in moderation. When in doubt, don't use them.

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