This month’s blog is about similes and metaphors. A simile is a figure of speech that makes a comparison between two things using words such as «like» or «as». Metaphors resemble similes, but they suggest a comparison between two things without using connecting words such as «like» or «as». We use similes and metaphors a lot. It is a way of speaking more artistically rather than literally.
When you hear a simile or metaphor, sometimes it makes you think about what the person has meant by what they have said. It is a clever way of expressing yourself. If I said that someone had a heart a gold, I wouldn’t mean that their heart was actually made of gold. I would mean that they were a kind, generous person. On the other hand, if I said that someone had a heart of stone, I would mean that they were a cold, inconsiderate person. These metaphors are used to describe the nature of the person.
If someone is described as being as busy as a bee, it means that they are very busy. This simile comes from the idea that bees are very busy creatures, who are always working. Therefore, we use this image of the bee to describe people who are very busy.
Somebody who is as blind as a bat is somebody who can’t see well at all. It doesn’t literally mean that they are completely blind, but it means that they can’t see well. This is usually someone who needs strong prescription glasses in order to see clearly. This simile comes from the fact that bats are blind and so if we compare someone’s eyesight to that of a bat, we can communicate the idea that the person has bad eyesight.
If somebody has decided to do something, for example get married, but then they start to reconsider their decision, we can say that they are getting cold feet. To get cold feet is a metaphor that is used to say that someone is thinking about backing out of a decision they have made.
If a relationship ends, for example between a boyfriend and girlfriend, and one of them or both of them are broken-hearted, it means that they are very upset and hurt because the relationship has ended. It doesn’t mean that their heart has broken in a physical sense, but that emotionally they are very hurt.
When one event triggers a reaction and a series of events follow as a result of the first event, we call this the domino effect. The metaphor “the domino effect” comes from the action of lining up a number of dominoes, then knocking over the first domino in the line so consequently the rest of the dominoes will fall one by one as a result of being hit by the previous domino. Therefore, in reality when one action happens and as a result other actions follow, this is called the domino effect.
When there is an issue between people, perhaps a truth or an awkward situation which is obvious and it is being ignored or not addressed, we call this «the elephant in the room». For example, if something has happened between two friends or colleagues for example, and the issue has not been addressed so far, somebody could say “are we going to address the elephant in the room?”. This means are we going to talk about the issue and try to solve the problem.
If somebody is described as being as quiet as a mouse it means that they are very quiet. For example, “he is as quiet as a mouse, you never hear a word out of him”. This simile comes from the idea that mice are very quiet animals. Therefore, we use this to describe people who are very quiet.
Finally, if someone is as strong as an ox, it means that they are very strong. Just like the mouse simile, the ox simile is comparable because it comes from the fact that an ox is a strong animal, therefore we say that a person who is strong is as strong as an ox.
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