A Simile for Me, Please 🙏🏽

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What is Simile?

A simile is a figure of speech used to compare two seemingly unrelated nouns by using the words “like” or “as”. Similes are used to create interest and highlight common characteristics or similarities between the two nouns.  For example, “He was drawn to the ocean like a moth to flame.”

How to pronounce Simile?


When do writers use Simile?

Writers use similes when they want to highlight common characteristics between two things which, on the surface, seem unrelated. Similes are also used to get the reader’s attention, add depth, set a tone or atmosphere, and to create imagery.

How to use Simile?

  • Use similes to compare seemingly unrelated nouns or ideas by using the words “like” or “as.”
  • Use similes to highlight common characteristics between two things..
  • Use similes to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Use similes to create a sense of humor or to add a lighthearted touch to a piece of writing.
  • Use similes to add humor or a lighthearted touch to a piece of writing.

Explain the types of Simile

  •  Implicit: Implicit similes, like metaphors, are often vague in nature and what the nature of the comparison is is left to the reader to construe. Example: “She is like a snail.”
  • Explicit: This type of simile clearly states the quality being compared. Example: “The biscuit was as hard as a rock.” 
  • Epic – Also known as Homeric similes, date back to the time of Homer. This type of simile is a special beast but when used correctly, it becomes a lovely, complex melding of words. Like traditional similes, epic similes compare two seemingly unrelated things by using the words “like” or “as”  but in a more complex way. The difference between a traditional simile and an epic simile is that epic similes are significantly longer and often continue for many, many lines instead of just one or two. Classic examples of epic simile include The Iliad and The Odyssey. The excerpt below is an example from The Iliad which compares the 10 siege on Troy to a swarm of bees:

    “Rank and file
    streamed behind and rushed like swarms of bees
    pouring out of a rocky hollow, burst on endless burst,
    bunched in clusters seething over the first spring blooms,
    dark hordes swirling into the air, this way, that way—
    so the many armed platoons from the ships and tents
    came marching on. close-file. along the deep wide beach
    to crowd the meeting grounds, and Rurnor. Zeus’s crier,
    like wildfire blazing among them, whipped them on.
    The troops assembled. The meeting grounds shook.
    The earth groaned and rumbled under the huge weight
    as soldiers took positions-the whole place in uproar.
    Nine heralds shouted out, trying to keep some order,
    “Quiet, battalions;silence! Hear your royal kings!”
    The men were forced to their seats, marshaled into ranks,
    the shouting died away … silence.”
  • This example from The Iliad uses simile to create vivid imagery within a specific atmosphere.

Examples of Simile in Literature 📚

  • “Alone, like one that had the pestilence” – William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • “Neither gay like butterflies nor somber like their own species.” – Virginia Wolfe, “The Death of the Moth”
  • “Her hair was like spun gold” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Examples of Simile in Children Books 🧸

  • Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, “She was as nervous as a witch in a broomstick factory.”
  •  J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit,  “He was as brave as a lion in a den of dragons.”
  • L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz,“The Scarecrow was as happy as a king in his own kingdom.”

Examples of Simile in Songs 🎧

  • ”And it seems to me you lived your life like a candle in the wind” – ”Candle In The Wind,” Elton John
  • “Running to the altar like a track star” – “Holy,” Justin Beiber
  • The song title, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

Examples of Simile in Poetry ✍🏽

“A Red, Red Rose,” by Robert Burns

“O my Luve is like a red, red rose

   That’s newly sprung in June;

O my Luve is like the melody

   That’s sweetly played in tune.”

“Harlem,” by Langston Hughes

 Does it dry up

 like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore—

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over—

like a syrupy sweet?

“Like a diamond in the sky” – “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” Jan Taylor

Examples of Simile in Film and Pop Culture 🎥

  • ”You gotta admit, I played this stinking city like a harp from hell!” – The Penguin in Batman Returns (1992)
  • “The silence before you strike and the noise afterwards. It rises. It rises up, like a storm. As if you were the thunder god himself.” – Proximo in Gladiator (2000)
  • “Revenge is never a straight line. It’s a forest. And like a forest it’s easy to lose your way… to get lost… to forget where you came in.” – Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)

Famous Movie Dialogue Featuring Simile 🎥

“Life is like a box of chocolates” – Forrest Gump (1994)

Simile in Advertising Slogans 📺

  • “The Honda’s ride is as smooth as a gazelle in the Sahara. Its comfort is like a hug from Nana.” – Honda
  •  “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” – State Farm
  • “Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.” – Almond Joy / Mounds

Often Confused with … 👥

Metaphor – Compares two different things or ideas that are otherwise unrelated. Unlike a simile, metaphors state that one thing is another thing. While the the things in question may be completely unrelated in fact, they are being compared for the sake of comparison or symbolism and are not intended to be taken literally.

Analogy – A comparison between two things which share common characteristics for the purpose of explanation or clarification.


What is a simile in literature?

A simile is a figure of speech that compares two different things using the words “like” or “as” to highlight similarities between them. It is used to make descriptions more expressive and vivid by drawing a direct comparison to something familiar.

How does a simile enhance a text?

A simile enhances a text by creating vivid imagery, making abstract concepts more concrete, and adding depth to the descriptions. It helps readers visualize the narrative, evoking emotions and making the text more engaging and relatable through familiar comparisons.

Can similes be found in both poetry and prose?

Yes, similes can be found in both poetry and prose. In poetry, they contribute to the poem’s imagery and thematic depth. In prose, similes can add clarity and enhance character descriptions, settings, and action, making the narrative more vivid and interesting.

Why do writers use similes?

Writers use similes to draw creative and insightful comparisons that illuminate qualities of people, objects, or situations, making their writing more vivid and engaging. Similes can also convey complex emotions and ideas in a more accessible and relatable way, enriching the reader’s understanding and experience of the text.

How can I identify a simile in a text?

To identify a simile in a text, look for phrases that compare two different things using “like” or “as.” These comparisons often involve an adjective used to describe a noun in a way that is not literally true but suggests a similarity, such as “as brave as a lion” or “she floated like a butterfly.”