The metaphor and the simile or comparison are often confused, due to their similarities. But, in fact, the two involve different aspects of literary language. Just to start, we can say that a simile is a metaphor, but not all metaphors are similes. Difference Between Metaphor and Smile
METAPHOR Difference Between Metaphor and Smile
The metaphor is often used as a powerful device that serves to substitute terms for others that literally mean something else; but that keep similarity as what is wanted to express. Therefore, there is a kind of “substitution” between the terms that I want to express and those that I use to express myself.
An example of a metaphor would be the phrase “The sea of his eyes.” This does not indicate that the sea is caught in anyone’s eyes, but rather that it is a person with blue eyes. (As the sea is usually represented as blue, by referring to “the sea of his eyes” what is meant is that that person’s eyes are “blue.” Instead of using the term “blue” directly, it is replaced by the term “sea”).
SIMILE OR COMPARISON
In simile, on the other hand, two things are compared to create meaning. The introduction of the word “like” is what gives the comparison a feature that differentiates it from the metaphor. So here the previous sentence would become “His eyes are like the sea.” The simile indicates similarity. It is the comparison between two unrelated things.
We can say that the simile is an approximation, while the metaphor is an equation in itself. So the main difference is that the simile; being an approximation, it cannot extend, substitute or invert. But metaphor, being an equation, it can be reversed, extended and replaced by other metaphors.
If the word “like” is used in the sentence to show similarity, then it is a simile. But if what is done is a substitution of one term for another, then it is a metaphor.
Other words that are used as connectors in the case of simile are: equal to, equal to, similar to, as well as …
Key differences between metaphor and simile
- The simile compares two things to create meaning, while in the metaphor one element is substituted for another, taking into account the similarities between them.
- The word “as” is used especially in the simile to establish a comparison, while in the metaphor it is assumed that two things are equal (a substitution is made).