–The Music Man
You can almost feel it, can’t you? That tiny, irritating raspberry seed lodged in your tooth (or worse yet, in your gums).
A good metaphor or simile breathes life into a sentence. It helps the reader’s mind make fresh correlations between smells, sounds, taste, touch.
A bad metaphor kills the sentence deader than a chainsaw murderer wielding a plastic chainsaw from Toys R Us. Get the idea?
Here’s a mini refresher course on the difference between a metaphor and a simile:
- Metaphor – a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money)
- Simile – Using like or as to compare two unlike things (as in cheeks like roses)
One of the best places to find funny figures of speech is in student-written essays. Here are some ‘winners’ from excerpts submitted by English teachers across the U.S. (vote for your favorites!)
- Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides
gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
- His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like
underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
- She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes
just before it throws up.
- She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was
room-temperature Canadian beef.
- He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
- McBride fell twelve stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag
filled with vegetable soup.
- Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
- The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry
them in hot grease.
- Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one
that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
- The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil,
this plan just might work.
- The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating
for a while.
- He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but
a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or
- The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg
behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
- The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because
of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a
formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
- It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with
- The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a
bowling ball wouldn’t.
- Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the
grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left
Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19
p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
- He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as
if she were a garbage truck backing up.
- Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
Which one made you laugh hardest?
Challenge: Compose the most painful metaphor or simile you can. Share it in the Comments area.