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Writing 101: The Under-Appreciated Metaphor

Updated on December 3, 2014

In Search of the Perfect Sentence

My wife and I went to the Farmer’s Market this past Saturday, and I was lost in a sea of nameless faces.

Welcome to the world of metaphors!

The life of a writer is a rocky path strewn with boulders.

But never fear. I am here to remove those boulders and give you a much-easier path to travel upon.

Have I lost you yet, or are you clueing in to the use of metaphors?

Yes, we continue to search for the perfect sentence. I have written before about my envy of writers like Steinbeck. I consider it a good day of writing if I produce one extraordinary sentence. Steinbeck wrote books where extraordinary sentences piled one on top of another, a veritable cord of language brilliance.

So, I have my work cut out for me, and the only way I’m ever going to reach that level of excellence is to continue to practice my craft. Luckily, I have many tools to use on my quest for excellence, and one of those tools is the subject of today’s article: the metaphor.

If you were paying attention you noticed that I already gave you several examples of metaphors, but for those a little slow on the uptake today, let’s take a look at a definition.

The writer's workshop, where metaphors are born
The writer's workshop, where metaphors are born | Source

The Definition of a Metaphor

Metaphors are fine if they aid understanding, but sometimes they get in the way.
Richard Dawkins

Our friends at Yahoo Dictionary tell us that a metaphor is “a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in ‘a sea of troubles.’”

I was lost in a sea of nameless faces.

The life of a writer is a rocky path strewn with boulders.

Are you with me now?

The water was a pane of glass, so smooth and revealing.
The water was a pane of glass, so smooth and revealing. | Source

The Two Parts of a Metaphor

I believe that a work of art, like metaphors in language, can ask the most serious, difficult questions in a way which really makes the readers answer for themselves; that the work of art far more than an essay or a tract involves the reader, challenges him directly and brings him into the argument.
George Steiner

A metaphor consists of two parts, a tenor and a vehicle.

The tenor is a noun that is being given the characteristics of a second noun, which is the vehicle.

If I say “that guy over there is a hog,” I am describing a human being, the guy, as an animal, a hog. Obviously I know the guy is a human, but I want to tell my audience that he acts or looks like a pig.

Now that you know the two parts of a metaphor, let’s take a look at the rules that apply when writing one.

Two Main Rules When Writing a Metaphor

Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.
Orson Scott Card

Only two, so pay attention.

In a metaphor, the tenor always comes before the vehicle. In other words, the thing you are describing comes before the descriptive phrase. In the example above, I would not say the hog is that guy. That would make zero sense and only serve to confuse my readers.

The second rule is that you need to keep in mind the point you are trying to convey. If you are trying to describe how beautiful something is, then you wouldn’t use something ugly like a garbage dump to compare it to. Your comparison has to make sense to the reader since the whole point of a metaphor is to help the readers to understand something better.

The landscape was a swirl of colors painted by the Master of the Universe
The landscape was a swirl of colors painted by the Master of the Universe | Source

Don’t Confuse a Metaphor with a Simile

Key metaphors help determine what and how we perceive and how we think about our perceptions.
M. H. Abrams

Metaphors and similes are often confused, mainly because they do basically the same thing. The main difference is that a simile uses the words “like” or “as” in the comparison. Instead of saying “that guy over there is a hog,” which would be a metaphor, you would say “that guy over there is like a hog,” which would be a simile.

They accomplish the same thing, but that doesn’t make them the same thing, if you get my point.

And Now, for Some Famous Metaphors from Literature

Look at almost any passage, and you'll find that a paragraph has five or six metaphors in it. It's not that the speaker is trying to be poetic, it's just that that's the way language works.
Steven Pinker

Now that I’ve explained it all to you, let’s see how the pros use metaphors. You might as well see how it’s done and then fake it till you make it.

From William Shakespeare:

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances.”

From Khalil Gibran:

“All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.”

From Marcel Proust:

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

From Walt Whitman:

“And your very flesh shall be a great poem.”

From George Orwell:

“Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.”

And finally, from Vincent Van Gogh:

“Conscience is a man’s compass.

One Final Thing to Avoid

You may have heard of mixed metaphors. They are to be avoided at all costs because, let’s face it, our job as writers is not to confuse our readers.

A mixed metaphor is a series of unrelated and absurd comparisons. Let’s take a look at an example.

“So now what we are dealing with is the rubber meeting the road, and instead of biting the bullet on these issues, we just want to punt."
(Chicago Tribune, cited by The New Yorker, August 13, 2007)

Remember, earlier, I told you that a metaphor must have a tenor and a vehicle. In the mixed metaphor above, you’ll notice we do not have a tenor, and instead we have three vehicles, none of which are related. This is, in a word, a mess…and it was written by a journalist. Lord give me strength!

And Now My Challenge to You

Now that you know how to write a metaphor, it is time to dazzle the teacher. I want you to write a metaphor in the comment section below. Let’s see how you do.

And beyond that, I would hope that you’ll use this lesson to add pizzazz to your writing in the future. Metaphors are wonderful tools that, when used correctly, will add texture to the constructions of your writing. Hopefully you’ll take some time to practice them and use them in your future work.

Happy writing to all of you!

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      paperfacets, you brought a smile to my face. Well done my new friend. Happy New Year to you.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 2 years ago from La Verne, CA

      The New Year is a poem; not read and gone before you knew it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Deb. I happen to like your style as well.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I do like the way you teach…you both inspire and show others how to effectively create. I like your style.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hard to say, Jim, but I'm glad you got a good laugh. Thanks for stopping by and being a regular customer.

    • Jlbowden profile image

      James Bowden 2 years ago from Long Island, New York

      LoL...Billy I read this last comment and couldn't help laughing. I wonder if this person was a spelling B champion at one time in another life?? ):

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Eagle. I appreciate you stopping by, and hope all is well in your world.

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      Eagle 2 years ago

      This is a really ineegliltnt way to answer the question.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You betcha, Jim. They really are the same thing, and accomplish the same purpose. It's all in the name, and whether "like" or "as" are used.

    • Jlbowden profile image

      James Bowden 2 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Billy:

      Thanks for pointing that difference out to me. So apparently I use more similes in my writing than I do metaphors. I'll give in this a review so I will be made more aware of the difference next time.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jim, you are close. Using the word "as" is the same as using the word "like," and that makes this a simile and not a metaphor. Close but no cigar, my friend. :) Thank you!

    • Jlbowden profile image

      James Bowden 2 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Billy:

      The decision of whether to use a metaphor in an article, could be as difficult as getting stuck between a rock and a hard spot! Did I pass this very interesting and useful lesson. Or should I don my reading glasses and go back to the beginning of this article, to try to grasp the main point again? ):

      Jim

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A treasure chest of information....yes!

      I hope you're having a great weekend, Glimmer. Thanks as always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you easylearningweb....the more the merrier on the blog.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      This hub is a wealth of information. (Right or not? I didn't do very good in language arts)

    • easylearningweb profile image

      Amelia Griggs 2 years ago

      Interesting and unique and I like how you got readers engaged here, very creative, I will check out your blog, thanks.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Besarien, I would love it. I love creativity of any kind, so anyone in the public eye willing to try something different like that is great by me. Thanks for sharing that.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 2 years ago

      Great hub, billybuc! You'd enjoy my local TV news team. They have been known to mix all possible metaphors and similes trying to turn fender-benders or stolen I Phones into exciting news.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Genna. I agree that it is possible to use too many metaphors in a short story or a novel. Just one more reason why some writers were considered greats, and some will always be also-rans. :)

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Bill, you've been reading my diary. I love metaphors, but use them too much; thus, I often omit them, thinking that "too much is too much." The correct use of metaphor is an art form that I still struggle with, and they can be confused with simile, analogy, etc., which your article clearly teaches. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mari, you are just too funny. Similes should be right up your alley, like a stray cat munching on dumpster treasures. :)

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      dragonflycolor 2 years ago

      I'm afraid I've written some mixed metaphors...on purpose. Ha! Similes are fun for me because they are as easy as pie to use in a chunk of word vomit fighting for recognizable flow. LOL.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, vkwok. Thank you!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for sharing this awesome advice, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heidi, you got it exactly right, and I loved it.

      Happy Weekend my wise friend, and thank you!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Your article is the shepherd's hook leading writers away from metaphor wolves. (Did I get that right?) :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Flourish. Wasn't that a classic? And written by a journalist. LOL

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I especially enjoyed the mixes metaphor example. Bravo on this one, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, I love the ocean metaphor. Very good!

      blessings and thanks heading your way

      bill

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 years ago

      Another very important to know, to keep in mind; a measureless Ocean memories won't ever overflow the brain.

      Useful and interesting.

      Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Jason. I'm glad you found it to be.

    • Jason Faith profile image

      Jason Faith 2 years ago from Grand Rapids MN

      ty very interesting

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That's okay, peachpurple. There are other tools you can use. :) Thanks for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Frank, it may not be easy, but you did it well. Thanks, buddy, and Happy Thursday to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, this ocean thanks you. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No summer school for you, Sis! You passed with flying colors. :)

      Hugs, Paula, and thank you.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      sorry i still don't get it. What IS metaphor? Still don't understand it

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Important and most informative.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      looks like you cut me down with your words. LOL ..my hope was once a fragile seed..LOL it really isn't easy so this hub does help Billybuc :)

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      One more awesome hub. Mr.Bill is an ocean of ideas and inspirations. I like him and appreciate him so much.

      Voted up and awesome.

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      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I'm nervous......I hate pop quizzes.

      My brain is a sponge your lessons rain upon. If I flunk do I get a Re-do? or am I headed to summer school?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      iris, you naughty girl, you! LOL Great mixed metaphor. What really bothers me about it is that I understood it. LOL Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cat, I'll try not to blow too hard. :) You are sweet...thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, you are the defender of the misfits. :) I love it. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jen, just for you, I'll do a hub next week on semi-colons. Hopefully I'll write it in such a way that everyone will understand...although in truth, I misuse them from time to time. :) Thank you, Jen!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I love that metaphor, and thank you so much. Once a teacher, always a teacher...and it's nice to be appreciated.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brad, I'm with you all the way, even with the simile at the end of your comment. :) Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mel, I'm shaking my head about the insensitive response, but it doesn't surprise me. We are so busy, as a society, being politically correct, that we have forgotten how to just be human beings. Keep on doing what you're doing my friend. There will always be detractors.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      A great metaphor is the height of communication. I'm so glad you brought them to the fore. Well, I better go now. I've got to put my ear to the grindstone before someone pulls a limb out from under me. I kid; I kid! :)

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 2 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you, Bill. You are the wind that fills my sails:)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      Ah I just have to speak out in defense of mixed metaphors. Only because someone has to!

    • Availiasvision profile image

      Jennifer Arnett 2 years ago from California

      The memories of that day were stains on white socks, she could wash them a million times--or bleach them to kingdom come, but they would never be clean again.

      I need to work on my punctuation. I just hate it. I was never taught it well and I find grammar books very technical and highly uncreative. It's a personal problem, I know. I really struggles with when to use em-dashes, vs. commas, vs semi-colons. Especially in longer sentences with multiple fragments and layers. I am certain that I often misuse them. Maybe your ex-teacher skills could write a hub and help this girl out. I have searched the internet and many of the grammar handbooks, and no one has presented it in a way that makes sense.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Sliding the puck of knowledge into the net of our minds...how's that for a metaphor for your lesson to us?

      These hubs do open our brains and fill them with knowledge. You certainly know how to teach even when you can't see your students. Thank you for another brilliant lesson.

      Voted up, super useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 2 years ago from Orange County California

      billybuc

      I don't have a clue.

      A metaphor is a simile that is not hooked with a like.

      A politician and the truth shall not share the same air.

      That politician is as truthful as he needs to appear to be for his purpose.

      A politician is LIKE a sidewinder snake moving in all directions to get somewhere.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I love using metaphors, but I do it without thinking and I probably don't use them according to the strict rules. A writer in these politically correct days has to be very careful using metaphors. On Bubblews I wrote a post called "Bipolar Bubbling" that was about the ups and downs of making money on the website. It had nothing to do with mental health issues, but a reader commented that I was being insensitive to bipolar people. It's a different world from when Shakespeare, or even Steinbeck was writing. Great hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I knew you would be, breakfastpop. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I think you did quite well, Dora. Nicely done, and, as always, thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Count your feathers, Denise, because you've got quite a few. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, there are so many metaphors in your comment.....a deluge of perfect examples. Thanks for playing along and of course for the kind words.

      blessings my friend

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, how could any discussion of metaphors happen without your input? Excellent...I love the one in Lawrence of Arabia. Classic stuff there...and as usual, you managed to teach me a thing or three along the way. Thank you, sir!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I am with you al the way!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      And Billybuc is the lighthouse for writers lost in the sea of metaphors. How did I do? Thanks for the lesson.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I hope this comment will be a feather in my cap, because I like to use metaphors when I write. Thanks for the great examples and non-examples!

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, once again you're generously sharing the fruit of knowledge as you plant even more seeds of wisdom. I'm spreading my wings and I'm ready to fly.

      I just saw Alan's comment, so if Lawrence was a river, you my friend are the the mighty wind. ;)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Abluesfornina, amorous is good. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cam, it comes as no surprise to me that you do this beautifully. Well done, buddy, and thanks.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Love it, Ruby! Keep them coming my friend, and thank you.

    • Abluesfornina profile image

      S Marie 2 years ago

      Enjoyed this article on metaphors. I am amorous with them.

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      Bill, your hub is a sifting screen, separating kernels of truth from the chaff of over explanation. Thank you for this helpful reminder of a valuable tool of the writer.

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I was lifted to a higher ground through a mesh of perfectly guided words.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 2 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Kennings are a form of metaphor, you could use them descriptively if writing in an historic vein (by the way back then we counted in 'scores' = 20's, 'Hardradi' was Harald Sigurdsson's nickname, 'Hard Ruler'):

      "Harald's keels, fifteen score and more, ploughed Njord's furrows to Hymbra's shore. As sheep, folk streamed to their god's strongholds, hoping for the the king to reach northward. Harold was already drawn by duty, with his huscarls to brush aside 'Hardradi' as a broom to flotsam".

      The kennings are in the Norse ships ('keels') 'ploughing' the god of the sea Njord's waves or 'furrows', the churches are 'god's strongholds'; the metaphor being brooms: 'brushing Hardradi aside' , Harold's huscarls being the brooms.

      There's a classic metaphor in the film 'Lawrence of Arabia' where the tribal chief (Anthony Quinn) tells Lawrence (before crossing the Nefud Desert to Turkish-held Aqaba): "I am a river to my people".

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Sandra. I love them too. I want more writers to use them on a regular basis and raise the standard of writing in this country.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kristi, it's good to see you again. Thank you for the kind words. I hope all is well with you. Don't be a stranger in the future. Drop by for a cup of coffee any old time.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      esmonaco, I'll save you a seat in the front row. :)

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      Sandra Joy Eastman 2 years ago from Robbinsdale MN

      Bill you gave us a great recipe for success in writing the metaphor if only we remember to use all the ingredients in their proper amounts and order.

      Loved this hub and I love using metaphor.

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      Kristi Sharp 2 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      billybuc, It's been months since I received the electricity of your wisdom and the warmth of your sincerity. I should check in more often. You words have always been more than a twinkle to me, they resonate and stick. (plus, I will print this so I can refer back) As always -wonderful words of wisdom. Best to you friend. -Kristi

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      Eugene Samuel Monaco 2 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Bill, So back to school I go :) Thanks

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Ron! I've never heard that one but I'll never forget it now that I have. Thanks for that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I always think of Yogi Berra when I think of mixed metaphors. Now there was a man who could butcher the language and still make sense. :) Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, it may not come easily to you, but you hit the nail on the head. :) Thank you my friend, and don't think for a second that metaphors come easily for me, because they don't.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Radical, you almost had it...get rid of the word "like" and you are right on. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Marlene, and I thank you. I happen to think you are a gently flowing river, peaceful and yet strong.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Martie. I can life with being an old thorn and a brick. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, never shut up on my account. I love your babbling.

      I've found the most common error when writing metaphors is confusing it with similes. Once you use the word "like" in comparing, as you know, you have a simile and not a metaphor. If one lesson came out of this article, that's what I want it to be.

      Now, get busy young lady. It sounds like you have a great deal of sorting to do.

      bill

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      Ron Hawkins 2 years ago from California, United States

      A fine read. There is a set of writing rules every writer should review before taking up a writing project as a refresher, and this is one of them.

      There was this word play about metaphors I heard somewhere (can't remember where). In response to the question "do you know what a metaphor is" a dolt says "I know what I met her for."

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you for an excellent lesson. But I must admit I like running across mixed metaphors, they remind me of Rodney Dangerfield.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Here's my attempt, Bill: An apt metaphor is the lamp that shines on prose and lights it up to best advantage.

      I wish I had your facility to craft the well-turned metaphor, Bill. Your skillful use of this literary device seems effortless, while I must labor to produce a mediocre one. Although creating good metaphors does not come natural to me, I hope my skill improves with practice (as it has with other aspects of our craft). Thanks for the excellent hub about metaphors.

      By the way, I love the title of the book in your link: "I Never Metaphor I Didn't Like." I may give that to myself for Christmas!

      Voted Up++ and shared

      Jaye

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      Peter Rogers 2 years ago from Plymouth

      This cleared up the subject like a strong wind blowing away the early morning fog.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Bill, you're the cat's meow!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 years ago from South Africa

      I love using metaphors in my writings, and at last, thanks to you, I now clearly understand the difference between a metaphor and a simile.

      Billy, you are an old thorn! (And this is a direct translation of our Afrikaans way of saying, 'you are a brick'.)

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      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I love metaphors; your examples are great! A mixed metaphor is the hideous icing on a cake of paper. Yuk!

      You've brought out some good ones in the comments too.

      Well done for explaining the metaphor; not an easy thing to do without confusion.

      Glad you didn't come up with another challenge for this - I'm awash with challenges and haven't got time to sort out my existing drafts - maybe I should do those first and save the challenges - but then it would be too late - I'm in a quandary. I'm also rambling so I'll shut up now.

      Ann :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      esmonaco no, that's a simple sentence....if you said "my mother was a storm, complete with lightning and thunder," then you would have a metaphor. Thanks for playing along.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, it seems to me that I've spent many days wallowing in my own shit. I can say from experience that it is much more pleasurable once one leaves that excrement behind. :) Thanks my friend.

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      Eugene Samuel Monaco 2 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Oh my! I think that I really need to go back to school. But I'm going to give this a try. "My mother was, in a frenzy" Is this correct?

      As always thanks for your help, I do appreciate all that you do :) Now I'm off to study!

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      Michelle Scoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Funny Bill I was thinking of my own metaphor as I was reading not realizing in the end you would ask for one. I use them a lot in therapy as they tend to help the client understand simple concepts. I frequently say, "allow them to wallow in their own waste (but I usually use more graphic terms)" when I am discussing the need for boundaries. Why play in the crap that someone else created. That usually does the trick and I find metaphors are quite handy. Great topic. Have a great week.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jamie, I had no doubt you would excel at this exercise, and you didn't disappoint me. Well done, buddy, and thank you.

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      Jamie Lee Hamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

      I am looking out from the waterfall mist of your words and seeing a whole new world of possibility. Jamie

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, excellent example...well done....I can only hope that's true one day, but thank you.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, no effort at all...you just whipped it out there with ease. :) Thank you dear friend.