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Difference Between Analogy Metaphor, and Simile

Analogy and simile are comparisons of two things that seem unrelated, they are not the same. A metaphor is a figure of speech, while an analogy is a type of argument; simile is also a type of metaphor, while analogy is not.

Generally, analogies are more complex than metaphor. The main difference between the two is that similes in English use “as” or “like” to make their comparisons.


A metaphor is a figure of speech that uses one thing to mean another and makes a comparison between the two.

The key words here are “one thing to mean another.”

So, when someone says “He’s become a shell of a man,” we know not to take this literally, even though it’s stated directly as if this person had actually lost his internal substance.

A metaphor is usually structured in one of two ways. Whereas figuratively can use the word “like” to compare two objects. Examples of the use of the word “like” are, “Her hair shines like the sun.” Hair and sun are usually not considered the same, but the language of parables describes them shining in the same way. The example of simile uses “as” for example, “The teeth are white like clouds.” In simile, the teeth are compared to the color of clouds.


An analogy is comparable to metaphor and simile in that it shows how two different things are similar, but it’s a bit more complex.

Rather than a figure of speech, an analogy is more of a logical argument.

The presenter of an analogy will often demonstrate how two things are alike by pointing out shared characteristics, with the goal of showing that if two things are similar in some ways, they are similar in other ways as well.

Analogy is used to make a connection between two objects or ideas to better explain the first object. For example, “Coffee is caffeine and beer is alcohol. “Coffee and beer are both drinks, and caffeine and alcohol are compounds they contain. In some cases, it might be difficult to determine the relationship between two items.

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A simile compares two different things in order to create a new meaning.

In this case, we are made explicitly aware that a comparison is being made due to the use of “like” or “as” (He’s like a shell of a man).

For fun, the next time someone corrects you and says “That’s a simile, not a metaphor,” you can respond by letting them know that a simile is a type of metaphor, just like sarcasm is a type of irony. Resist the urge to be sarcastic in your delivery.

The Difference

The main difference between analogies and simile is that they are a type of metaphor. The metaphor compares one thing to another by stating that the first thing is the same as the second. “Her hair is the sun” is a metaphor, whereas a simple simile states that her hair shines like the sun.

Analogy and simile also differ in that analogies can be far more complex than similes. A writer can craft the whole story as an analogy, while simile are the language the writer uses when composing the story or other parts of writing. An analogy can be more difficult to distinguish from a parable, because it does not use “like” or “as.”

“His love is like a red rose,” is an example of a simile.

Analogy and simile differences further that analogy can be used to convince someone of something. One can compare two items when making an argument to prove his opinion. In some cases, the relationship between two items can be very thin, so the analogy becomes weak. For example, someone might try to argue that eating ice cream is the same as drinking milk, because both are dairy products. The analogy ignores the fact that ice cream is higher in fat and contains more sugar than milk.

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