If you want to explain something, make a point or spark an “aha” moment, reach for “figurative language.” It’s a type of expressive writing that doesn’t just enhance style, it sharpens meaning, says The Canadian Writer’s Handbook.
One type of figurative language is the simile. Similes compare two things, using “like” or “as.” Rihanna sang “Shine bright like a diamond.” A Robert Burns poem says his love was “like a red, red rose.” In the movie Forrest Gump, the title character said his mama told him, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.” All similes.
The June issue of my newsletter, Wordnerdery, includes some other examples of effective similes, like these:
“’[Writing on a blackboard without the proper tools would] be like Picasso using Sharpies on a piece of waxed paper instead of using an actual canvas and oil paints,’ says Dave Bayer, a mathematics professor at Barnard College in New York City.” – CNN
“We built that army to run on contractor support. Without it, it can’t function,” retired general David Barno told investigators. “When the contractors pulled out, it was like we pulled all the sticks out of the Jenga pile and expected it to stay up.” – Michael Rainey in Yahoo!Finance
What sharp similes have you spotted? Do share. I’m always looking for fresh examples.
Wordnerdery is a quick read about words, effective/expressive writing, newsletters and more. Are you a subscriber yet? If yes, thanks for reading! If not, you can sign up right now. In keeping with Canadian and American anti-spam laws – and just plain good manners – you can easily unsubscribe any time.