Using simile and metaphor

Robin   Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:00 am GMT
When people are learning English, the emphasis is on vocabulary and grammar. Native English speakers studying English, study: Word Choice, Imagery, and Sentence Structure.

This is the basics of Higher English, a Scottish qualification.

I hope that readers of the English Forum find the above WebSite of interest. It one of the Web Pages that the BBC produce.

I would recommend the BBC to people learning English because the BBC is supported by Television Licence Payers. Consequently the BBC does not expect you to pay for the service that it provides.

Also, with reference to previous comments about correct and incorrect grammar. At one time 'BBC English' was the hallmark by which English was judged. Since then, the English language content provided by the BBC has become much broader. Swear words are commonly heard in BBC dramas. Regional accents are much more common. Different Shows adopt very different approaches, in order to be fresh and original. Television Programmes will aim at specific audiences ie 'young people', or will try to engage the audience, by different techniques. ie 'The Frost Report' was a comedy programme that presented the comedy as if it was a news programme.

Using simile and metaphor
Imagery is a figurative comparison between two things which have no literal connection. By comparing things that are not alike, writers use imagery to create a poetic or descriptive impact. Effective imagery works by allowing readers to compare something they are familiar with to something less familiar. There are two very easily recognised forms of imagery: similes and metaphors.

Similes are simple comparisons and usually contain the word 'like' or 'as'

' As cool as a cucumber' describes someone who is calm and composed.

'Like a fox in a henhouse' describes dangerous carnage.

Metaphors involve comparison like similes but they do so more subtly than similes. Where a simile tends to describe a comparison by making a simple association like the examples above, a metaphor suggests the comparison without stating it explicitly.

'A trickle of aid to sub-Saharan countries came from the West last year instead of the necessary flood.'

This imagery illustrates that a natural force like water can be used to describe the way that third-world countries are provided with aid. The image relies on the 'trickle' being a slow flow of water inadequate for the purpose of useful aid to the sub-Saharan countries, contrasted with 'flood'; the large volume of support actually needed.
Pauline   Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:49 pm GMT
Hello Robin,

Probably all (certainly most of) languages will have this things. We call a simile : une comparaison, and a metaphor is : une m├ętaphore.

I suppose that similes will be certain phrases, what you must learn specific, but metaphors you can make up. certainly the use of them will enrich your language, so it's a great suggestion you've made I think so i will learn some similes.
Boy   Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:24 pm GMT
Hi Robin

They exist in every language even in my native language Urdu that is very different in every aspect from your native language English. I remember of my father's words when I was like 12 years old and now I am 18. I asked him a simple question to which he replied.

Me: Dad, what is the definition of a good writer in your opinion?
Dad: A person who describes everything succintly/clearly in a layman's language without resorting to obscure vocabulary words.

Personally, If I were to write a book ever, I'd prefer to use a simplified form of language for presenting my thoughts to my audience. If my communication is hindered due to a heavy use of obscure words and readers have a problem in extracting the actual meaning from the context then my communication is going to be flopped big time and my purpose of writing a book will go down the toilet.

Nevertheless, I don't know if ESL learners can benefit a lot from learning how to use metaphors and similes. First of all, they have to get their basics rights, it is not a good idea for them to try to climb the ladder from directly bottom to the top. Everything happens gradually, step-by-step.
He is a fox   Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:32 pm GMT
is this sentence a simile or metaphor