What Is a Metaphor? Definition and Examples


What Is a Metaphor? Definition and Examples
School educationForeign languages
  1. Why Are Metaphors Used?
  2. Different Types of Metaphor
  3. How to Find a Metaphor?
  4. How to Use a Metaphor?

Metaphor has become an integral part of our lives, in particular, the work of writers, journalists, editors, artists, designers, advertisers. Mastering this art will help you to succeed in the art of words in general.


To learn to recognize and apply metaphors in your speech, read the text below.


Why Are Metaphors Used?

Let us begin with the actual definitions. This is an artistic figure that is created by comparing one thing with another, transferring certain qualities of one object or person to another. That is, the basis of the metaphor is the principle of comparison. Often metaphors are a characteristic feature of fiction, less often – a journalistic style. But we often use them in everyday speech without even noticing.


As an example, consider the direct metaphor "the sword of fate". If you go deeper into the structure, you can see that the metaphor consists of two components:

  • the main idea, which is also called the tenor ("destiny", "doom");
  • comparison tool (this is the working material used for comparison), it is also called a vehicle. In our example, it is a "sword".

What Is a Metaphor? Definition and Examples

To understand this topic perfectly, you need to take private lessons from a tutor. On the website UpskillsTutor you will find a variety of specialists for any request.


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Different Types of Metaphor

Linguists distinguish 4 main types of this poetic figure. Let us look at them in more detail:

  • A standard or direct one is, in fact, a classic, in which a simple and clear comparison is immediately felt: dew drop diamonds;
  • An implied metaphor – here the comparison is only implied, it is not directly mentioned in the text, it is a hint: Kyle growled maliciously (like a wild beast?);

What Is a Metaphor? Definition and Examples

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How to Find a Metaphor?

To do this, there is an algorithm of four actions:

  1. Determine if there is a comparison element in the words you are analyzing. If so, proceed to the next step. 
  2. Does metaphor use like or as? If so, it is not a metaphor, but a simile. This is a similar artistic figure that uses such conjunctions.
  3. Now look at how thoroughly an author explains the similarity between the two ideas. If there is a detailed logical explanation, it is an analogy.
  4. After all, a metaphor only superficially hints at similarity. The final step is to understand the idea behind the metaphorical image.

Examples of metaphors in prose.

What Is a Metaphor? Definition and Examples

Samples of metaphor in poetry.

What Is a Metaphor? Definition and Examples

How to Use a Metaphor?

What words do metaphors use? These are bright epithets or words that are not accurately compatible in the direct meaning. That is, it is built on a figurative meaning of words.


If you need metaphors for spectacular performances in public, writing poems or other artistic works, you need to master this art more meticulously. An English tutor will help you to train your speech and enrich it with new metaphors. Private lessons have advantages over other forms of studying. These are:

  • the ability to learn from а professional experience;
  • individual curriculum and approach;
  • constant monitoring of your successes and results.


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