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Let us have a look at the simile as another figure of speech, this time of a lesser intensity than the metaphor which we discussed in our last lesson.

Can you notice how you're losing in the strength of your expression when you have to add a linking word - 'like' or 'as'? The quote in the picture gives you the choice of believing it or not, you see? You may think otherwise...

It's not the same as saying "Life is a moving bicycle." The latter statement imposes a certainty, it makes you rather believe the message and trust the messenger. It’s almost as if by choosing to use a simile in our writing, we give the reader the impression of a description, whereas by choosing a metaphor you tend to prove your point.

In a Simile...

you have the two images or ideas that are being compared side by side, a kind of mirroring.

A is like B.

In a Metaphor...

one image actually undertakes the role of the other – they become superimposed.

A is B.

Here's a funny example of a simile

Shrek: Ogres are like onions.  Donkey: They stink?  Shrek: Yes. No!  Donkey: They make you cry?  Shrek: No!  Donkey: You leave them out in the sun, they get all brown, start sprouting little white hairs.  Shrek: No! Layers! Onions have layers!

(Shrek, 2001)

If you are studying the art of writing essays, you will be aware of the importance of a 'hook' at the beginning of your piece. Using a simile, like in the quote above ('Life is like a bicycle.') will do the job very well indeed. As you see, the author here went on and supported that statement with the second sentence, explaining why he thinks life is like that. 

Where else would we use this figure of speech? Well, in everyday speech we would use it to emphasize our key points and help create a vivid image in the reader's mind, to help her capture our idea and remember it better. 

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