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Analogy vs Metaphor: Understand the Differences

Creating a vivid image in your reader’s mind is a concrete way to create a memorable

They work differently because a metaphor is a figure of speech but an analogy is a logical

Writer’s Digest Senior Editor Robert Lee Brewer explained:

“A metaphor is something, a simile is like something, and an analogy explains how one thing being

Analogy: Joyce’s personal care and hygiene are the same as a pig who roots in the

The aim of the analogy is to show how two things are alike in order to make

With that introduction, let’s look at how metaphors and analogies work in your writing so you

A word or phrase is used not literally but as a representation for a vivid effect

This combination of economy of words and vivid imagery creates an emotional connection with your reader

In Adrian McKinty’s Falling Glass, he describes a view of Hong Kong as “a mashup of

” This metaphor brings to mind a bay filled with boats in Venice combined with the super-modern architecture

It gives the reader an instant visual impression without slowing down the story

And he does that with just two short references that bring images alive in the reader’s

The compressed imagery sparks a response to something familiar while leading to a new way of understanding

A practical way to understand metaphors and how you can use them is through metaphor examples

Metaphors are useful in fiction because they don’t detract from the storyline but add vivid imagery

“If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which

Because a metaphor condenses down to imagery, the reader “sees” it in their mind

Because metaphors are concise, you can use them to pack an emotional punch

When a character uses a metaphor, you get a sense of their worldview

They understand the character’s personality through the metaphor (image) your character uses

Currently I was in ring two hundred and ninety-nine, with elephants dancing and clowns cart wheeling and

The time had come to step back, leave the main tent, go buy some popcorn and a

It plays on the reader’s senses through sounds, images, scents, tastes, images, and touch to make

An analogy works by creating a logical argument comparing two things to make a point

An analogy uses two usually unlike things, and draws a conclusion from the direct comparison

The analogy presents the argument of how the joke and the frog are similar

An analogy uses the familiar to help the reader understand the unfamiliar

In a few words, you make a logical point rather than leading your reader through a long

While a metaphor creates a visual image, an analogy uses familiar concrete terms and images to solidify

The familiar terms help to illustrate exactly what the writer wants to say

Analogies work well in fiction to explain a concept without taking a reader away from the storyline

“If people were like rain, I was like drizzle and she was a hurricane

Then, the explanation of their relationship works to consolidate the idea

The visual imagery creates a concrete image, often an image with emotional overtones

The images are a shorthand for understanding the logical concept

Anyone who has held rich soil in their hand knows how it feels and smells

Without mentioning soil chemistry or physics, the writer evokes the difference and why soil content is important

The best use of an analogy is to lead the reader to a logical conclusion in a

Non-fiction writers use analogies to introduce and summarize major points

They know that a speech must move in order to maintain audience attention

You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles

Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive

But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a

While both metaphors and analogies are concise and rely on visual imagery, the intent is different

The emotional power of metaphors boosts interest in the logical conclusion

The best way to identify and separate metaphors and analogies is to examine the aim

Metaphors and analogies are common literary devices—look out for them in the next book you pick