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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tips for Sharpening Your Writing Skills


MAKE USE OF THE 20 FIGURES OF SPEECH
(Thursdays, from May 24 to October 4)

15. Simile (SIM-i-lee): An explicit comparison between two fundamentally unlike things, usually introduced by like or as (“my love is like a red, red rose”).

How does a simile differ from a metaphor? In a simile, the two words are understood to be literal. In contrast, the words in a metaphor transfer the literal meaning of the first word to a figurative meaning in the second word. In both a simile and a metaphor, the reader/listener has to figure out what the point of comparison is.

“My father grumbles like a bear” is a simile in which father and bear are literal (i.e., father and bear are just that—a real father and a real bear—and the father grumbles like a bear).
“My father is a bear before his morning cup of coffee” is a metaphor in which father is literal and bear is figurative (i.e., the father is not a literal bear that turns into dear old Dad after his coffee ~ unless this is a fantasy story).

Uses:
To create vivid images in the reader’s mind
To convey understanding through the comparison

Examples of simile:

"Without warning, Lionel gave one of his tight little sneezes: it sounded like a bullet fired through a silencer."
(Martin Amis, Lionel Asbo: State of England)

"When Lee Mellon finished the apple he smacked his lips together like a pair of cymbals."
(Richard Brautigan, A Confederate General From Big Sur)

"Good coffee is like friendship: rich and warm and strong."
(slogan of Pan-American Coffee Bureau)

"You know life, life is rather like opening a tin of sardines. We're all of us looking for the key."
(Alan Bennett, Beyond the Fringe)

"He was like a cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow."
(George Eliot, Adam Bede)

"The Duke's moustache was rising and falling like seaweed on an ebb-tide."
(P.G. Wodehouse, Uncle Fred in the Springtime)

"Life is like an onion: You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep."
(Carl Sandburg)

"My face looks like a wedding-cake left out in the rain."
(W.H. Auden)

"[H]e looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food."
(Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely)

"She dealt with moral problems as a cleaver deals with meat."
(James Joyce, "The Boarding House")

I FOUND A SIMILE OR A METAPHOR ON ALMOST EVERY PAGE OF TIM DOWN’S BUG MAN SERIES. DELIGHTFUL!

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