A simile compares two unlike things using the words “like” or “as.” Here are some common examples of simile:
You’ve probably heard or read these examples before. The goal in writing is for you to create similes that are new and creative. These are simply used as examples to show you what a simile might look like.
In the movie Annie Hall, Alvy says to his girlfriend Annie, “A relationship, I think, is like a shark, you know; it has to constantly move forward or it dies. And, I think what we’ve got on our hands is a dead shark.” Not exactly what you want to hear from your significant other, but it leaves no room for doubt about Alvy’s thoughts on the relationship. This is one advantage of using similes in writing: they are more precise than other forms of figurative language and often easier to interpret.
Read a short poem called “Flint” by Christina Rossetti.
An emerald is as green as grass,
A ruby red as blood;
A sapphire shines as blue as heaven;
A flint lies in the mud.
A diamond is a brilliant stone,
To catch the world’s desire;
An opal holds a fiery spark;
But a flint holds a fire.
The precious stones are described by obvious similes because their value is obvious. The flint’s value is buried within and unlimited; it can be used to make fire.
Similes are also used in fiction to compare two dissimilar things. Let’s look at some similes from novels. Then do the exercise that follows.
The café was like a battleship stripped for action.
A hot wind was blowing around my head, the strands of my hair lifting and swirling in it, like ink spilled in water.
Her eyes look like lamps blaring up just before the oil is gone.
She was a pale blonde with skin like clean and polished bone.
The air smelled sharp as new-cut wood, slicing low and sly around the angles of buildings.
For the next exercise, match the correct objects and descriptions by dragging and dropping each phrase at the top into a blank oval below. Refer to the quotations above to help you match each pair.