How to write a metaphor

Metaphors are the knife sticking out of your side, the bumps that keep you from gaining good writing speed, the cunning monster hiding in the closet from… from… To hell with it! Metaphors are no doubt difficult, but if you follow these instructions, they can become the very salt and sp

Understand metaphors

Understand the meaning of the word metaphor. The word "metaphor" comes from the ancient Greek metapherein, which means "to transfer" or "to convey". Metaphor connects two concepts on by saying that one of them is the other (whereas comparison simply says that one is like the other). To know what should happen in the end, it is worth looking at the famous examples.

Learn to recognize the metaphor. There are many other figurative expressions that help to find associations between two concepts - these include comparison, metonym and synecdoche. However, despite the fact that they have similar features with the metaphor, they differ from each other.

The comparison consists of two parts: "content" (the object being described) and "shell" (the object/s used to describe it). Unlike metaphors, comparisons use "as" or "as if" to compare, and therefore give the expression a weaker effect.

A metonym replaces the name of one object with another object that is closely related to it.

Check out the types of metaphors. Although the main purpose of metaphors is quite simple, metaphors can be used in a variety of situations, from the simplest to the most complex. With the help of simple metaphors, two objects can be directly compared. But in literature, metaphors often stretch out into entire sentences or even scenes.

Fixed or extended/complex metaphors consist of several phrases or sentences. Their accumulative nature makes them very strong and bright.

Indirect metaphors are more subtle than simple ones.

Dead metaphors are metaphors that have become so common in our everyday speech that they have lost their former strength, as they have become too familiar to us.

Distinguish mixed metaphors. "Mixed" metaphors contain elements of several metaphors at once, which often leads to awkward or funny situations.

Catachresis is the official name for mixed metaphors, and some writers deliberately use them to confuse the reader, and the writing seemed absurd, or so they want to express strong or indescribable emotions.

Catachresis can also be used to show a character's confusion or conflicting thoughts.

Familiarize yourself with the principle of using metaphors. Metaphors, used wisely, can enrich your language and enhance your meaning, when the author do my homework, they can convey deep meaning in just a few words (like the phrase “deep meaning” just used). They also encourage reading and force the reader to interpret their thoughts in a different way.

With the help of metaphors, you can convey emotions that have not yet turned into actions.

Metaphors can express huge, complex concepts in a few words.

Metaphors can make a piece unique. It is easy to use everyday language to express your thoughts: the body is the body, the ocean is the ocean. But metaphors will give the usual concept creativity and expressiveness.

Metaphors show your genius.

Read as many examples as you can. There is no better way to understand how metaphors work and to determine which metaphors are right for you than by reading works that use metaphors. Many authors use metaphors, so no matter what your literary preferences are, chances are you can find a couple of great examples.

Write your metaphors

Using your imagination, think about what you are going to describe. What qualities does it have? What does it do? What feelings does it awaken in you? Perhaps it has a smell or taste? Brainstorm and write down all the characteristics and properties that come to mind. Do not focus too much on obvious details, good metaphors are born only from outside-the-box thinking people.

For example, if you want to write a metaphor for "time", try to write as many qualities as possible: slow, fast, invisible, space, relativity, heaviness, elasticity, progress, change, artificial, evolution, break, timer, racing, running.

At this stage, you should not get carried away with editing; your goal is to collect information for future use. You can always discard unnecessary ideas later.

Use the free association method. Write down all other objects and phenomena that have some similar characteristics with the described object or concept. But again, try not to be too direct, because the less obvious your association is, the more interesting the metaphor will be. If you are writing about a concept, then try, for example, to compare it with some subject. For example, if your topic is justice, ask yourself what kind of animal it could be.

Avoid cliches. The purpose of the metaphor is to convey the meaning in a concise and original way.

This is brainstorming, so let your imagination run wild!

Decide what mood you would like to create. Is there a specific tone you would like to set or keep? Should your metaphor be included in a larger context, whatever you write? Use these considerations to remove unnecessary associations from your list.

For example, "time" is combined with an "ethereal/sublime" mood. Discard ideas that don't fit with your mood.

Try to remember the shades of your chosen topic in your mind. For example, if you compare justice to an animal, "roaming leopard" expresses a completely different meaning than "tired elephant." But both of these metaphors are still better than "newborn kitten."

Work on creating a metaphor. Write a few sentences, a paragraph or a whole page on comparing your original subject or concept with the associations you wrote. Don't worry about formulating the metaphor itself just yet, focus on the ideas themselves and your thoughts and see where they take you.

Read what you have written aloud. Since the metaphor draws attention to the structure, the "mechanics" of the language, it is especially important that your metaphor literally sound right and beautiful. A metaphor that conveys softness should not contain many rough consonants, a metaphor that describes depth can have deep vowel sounds (o or u), and a metaphor that describes excess or excess can contain alliteration (i.e. repeated vowel sounds), and so on.

In the sentence drawn up in paragraph 4, the main idea is that the words do not have a double meaning. For example, there is almost no alliteration, which can be useful if you want to use repetition. By "rubber band" is meant that someone is pulling it on, and this helps to focus attention on time, implying action.

Transform your comparisons into metaphors. Write a metaphorical sentence that draws a parallel between your original item or concept and one of your associated items or concepts. Does the resulting sentence make sense? Is it original? Does the sound match the feel? Perhaps another metaphor would sound better? Don't stop at the first metaphor that seems right to you. Be prepared to cross it out if a better idea comes up.

Diversify your ideas. Metaphors are often used as nouns—"her face was like a picture," "every word has power"—but they can also be used as other parts of speech, often with surprisingly strong effect.

Using verbal metaphors can give the action more power (sometimes literally!).

The use of adjectives and adverbs as metaphors can vividly characterize objects, people, and concepts in just a few words.

Using metaphors as prepositional phrases, you can describe the actions themselves, as well as the thoughts that accompany them.

Attachment metaphors (nouns or noun phrases that are used to refer to a related noun) or modifiers can make your work more literary and creative.

Writing literary texts is also a skill. The more you practice, the better you will get.

Remember that thing called "grammar"? In the end, it turns out that she is still needed. Make sure you write correctly so your readers can understand you clearly.

No matter how hard you try, some metaphors just don't work. If this happened, no big deal. Just cross it out and move on. Perhaps your muse will give you inspiration in something else.

Useful Information:


Economics Term Paper Topic

Master's work writing

Tips for Expository Essay Writing

Write a critical essay

Kathryn Hanson

1 Blog posts