Difference between a Simile and a Metaphor

Simile and metaphor both are extensively used in literary works. These are used to make comparison or to explain a concept. It is little tricky to understand the use of simile and metaphor. Both are poetic device and commonly used in English language to embellish the text. Let us see the difference between a simile and a metaphor.


A simile is a metaphor, but not all metaphors are recognized as the simile. It is a type of metaphor in which the comparisons is made with the help of some specific words such as ‘like’ or ‘as’.

For example:

•    Her cheeks are red like a rose.
•    She is busy as bee.
•    He is as tall as a giraffe.
•    They fought like cat and dog.
•    Her voice is as sweet as sugar.

1.    A simile is a figure of speech that is used to compare two different things so as to create a new meaning. It is more poetic than metaphor.
2.    A simile represents to be like something or someone. In simple words, a thing cannot be substituted for the other thing completely.
3.    A simile always uses the words ‘like’ and ‘as’.


A metaphor is a literary device, which directly states a comparison. In other words, it made the comparison between the subjects that are unrelated.

For example:

•    My life is an open book.
•    She is the apple of my eye.
•    The wheels of justice turn slowly.
•    I was lost in a sea of nameless faces.
•    Words are the weapons with which we wound.

1.    A metaphor is a figure of speech and it compares two things without using ‘like’ or ‘as’.
2.    A metaphor is a substitution or an equation, whereas a simile is an approximation.
3.    A metaphor usually uses word like ‘is’, ‘are’, ‘was’ or ‘were’.

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English Grammar