Teaching Metaphors

metaphorby Renee Kirchner, Teaching Tips Contributing Editor

Metaphors talk about one thing as if it were another. They are not introduced with the words “like” or “as”, but make direct comparisons. Here are a few examples:

His shirt was a flag, flying in the breeze.
Her eyes were jewels, sparkling in the sun.
The ocean is a playground for scuba divers.
A song is a poem set to music.

Metaphors can compare something unfamiliar with something familiar to give you a frame of reference.

The surface of the moon is a snowy yard with footprint craters.
The bottom of the ocean is a dark cave.
A kiwi is a fuzzy lime.
A resume is a report card for adults.

A metaphor comparison is not literal. You can’t always take the meaning directly. Here are some examples:

His room was a pigpen. (This means his room is messy, not that pigs live in it.)
The harvest moon was a pumpkin. (This means the moon was round and orange, not made out of pumpkin.)
Her teeth were pearls. (This means her teeth were white like pearls, not that each tooth was actually a pearl.)
The baby’s cheeks were two rosy apples. (This means the baby’s cheeks are round and red, not really apples.)

Writers use metaphors to make their writing colorful and you can to. Give it a try.

Life is a Roller Coaster Sometimes!An Exercise in Writing Metaphors: Complete the sentences to make your own metaphors.

1. The moon is a _____________________________________________.

2. Freckles are ________________ when they spread across your face.

3. His arms were _________________ as they lifted the heavy chair.

4. The stars are ______________ as they twinkle in the night sky.

5. The storm was a ______________ as it clawed against my window.

6. The freshly mowed lawn was a ___________________________.

7. The noisy children were __________________ as they raced through the museum.

8. I was a ___________________ as I tiptoed across the wooden floor.

9. The river was a _________________ as it twisted and turned down the mountain.

10. His cheeks were __________________ as he chewed the giant wad of bubble gum.


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