English Language Blog

Similes Posted by on Mar 14, 2012 in English Grammar, English Language

“It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog.” – The Beatles

A simile is something compared with something else to create an image in the reader’s mind. A simile usually includes the words “like” or “as.”

You can create similes for adjectives (as light as a petal), verbs (He crawled like a snail.) and nouns (The heat was like a blazing bonfire.).

Similes, when used well, can really expand your writing. They allow you to describe the scene to your reader (the chocolate mousse was as smooth as velvet) rather than just telling them (the chocolate mousse was smooth). This means that your reader will imagine and visualize what you mean. Also, when you tell your reader rather than show them, you can’t be certain that your reader will understand what you mean.

If you say, “the soup was hot,” hot might mean really, really hot to one person but only lukewarm to someone else. However, if you said, “the soup was as hot as lava,” I’m pretty sure your reader would get a clear idea of just how hot that soup was!

Now that you have a good idea of how powerful similes can be in your writing, let’s create some.

1. Practice writing new similes by thinking of comparisons for these adjectives:

  • as rich as __________
  • as dry as __________
  • as pretty as __________
  • as quick as __________
  • as good as __________
  • as clean as __________
  • as big as __________
  • as heavy as __________
  • as dull as __________

2. Complete these sentences by thinking of similes for the nouns:

  • The overgrown garden looked as if __________
  • The black smoke smelt like __________
  • The thick rain felt as if __________
  • The music she heard sounded like __________
  • The fresh coffee tasted like __________

3. Complete these sentences by thinking of similes for the verbs:

  • She ran like __________
  • It snowed like __________
  • The baby crawled like a __________
  • The large boat sank like __________

With all your new found simile power, don’t go overboard! Some similes, such as “life is like a box of chocolates” are called clichés because they are used so often that they have little impact. So use your similes sparingly!

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  1. Thienkhanh:

    Thank you for posting such a lesson. I always wonder if I can be a native speaker. Actually, I come from viet nam, people here are bad at listening and speaking, they often feel shy away from speaking to native speakers, foreigners…In fact, my listening is just OK. But when I want to say something in english, I feel very hard to express my idea out in english. I am used to translating from vietnamese into english, so it holds my process of learning english back. Shame on me! I really want to get approached by native speakers…, practicing talking english, exchanging ideas together..