Do you want to explain something, make a point or spark that “aha” moment? Reach for a metaphor, which shows how two things are alike without using “like” or “as.”

A metaphor gives people a shortcut to understanding new, complex or conceptual info, says writing trainer Ann Wylie – and notice her own use of metaphors: “It’s tempting to call metaphor the magic spell in a writer’s repertoire, the Penn and Teller of the page,” she says. “It lets you say in five words what would otherwise take five paragraphs to explain.”

The February issue of my newsletter, Wordnerdery, has some terrific examples of metaphors, including this one:

“They recently fit 40 northern map turtles in eastern Ontario with tri-axial accelerometers (essentially a turtle Fitbit) and logged the data. The devices recorded the movement, depth and temperature of the turtles for the seven months they remained under the ice.” – Thomas Lundy and Sarah Brown in National Geographic

Find more effective shortcuts to understanding — like a “legal termite” and “a rock concert with the band’s amplifiers cranked up to 11” — in Wordnerdery..

Turtle image by Yisa Guo on Unsplash.

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