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A simile that doesn't use "like" or "as."

 
 
SCoates
 
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2008 11:16 am
It seems English teachers always define simile as a comparison that uses "like" or "as." Of course, that is simply a useful guideline for students.

A few days ago I heard a simile on the radio that breaks the rule. It was something along the lines of "Much in the same way that the earth revolves around the sun, we will continue bringing you great music."

I'm curious how many forms of simile we might brainstorm that break the rule as well.
 
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2008 12:39 pm
Finding an example of a simile without 'as' or 'like' is like finding a needle in a haystack.
0 Replies
 
Miklos7
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2008 01:45 pm
I don't think that the sentence you describe is not a special kind of simile; it's better described as a particularly obviously stated metaphor. [For the record, I used to teach English. While in graduate school, I took an afternoon job, teaching grammar--and only grammar--at a local private day school. An absurd situation. No wonder my predecessor had quit. I quite probably developed the only 6th-graders in town who actually could explain a nominative absolute. Of course, I cheated on the curriculum by my reading to them as well. Otherwise, we all would have gone mad.] Theoretically, a simile need not include the words "like" or "as" to set up a comparison, but I've never seen such a comparison that couldn't better be parsed as a low-tension (because of little surprise or novelty) metaphor.

I am entirely willing to be convinced that a comparison without "like" or "as" could be a simile; I just haven't seen one yet. It's like the famous black swan!
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Miklos7
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2008 01:46 pm
Please strike the "not" from "not a special" in my first line above. Clumsy fingers today! Thank you.
littlek
 
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Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2008 03:38 pm
I'd call it a metaphor.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2008 04:41 am
I'm with littlek. Metaphors are figures of speech. A simile is one sort of metaphor.
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Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2008 01:07 pm
We could also just call it a plain old "comparison" or "analogy."
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SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 09:19 pm
Hmm... not to be rude, but by definition, the first example is a simile. I'm a little confused at the debate.
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Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 09:42 pm
SCoates wrote:
Hmm... not to be rude, but by definition, the first example is a simile.


No, it is not. A simile, by definition, uses "like" or "as".

Britannica wrote:
simile:

figure of speech involving a comparison between two unlike entities. In the simile, unlike the metaphor, the resemblance is explicitly indicated by the words "like" or "as."

http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9067844/simile


You will find some reference works that state otherwise (even some grammar dictionaries), (some include "resemble", some say smilies almost always use "like" or "as" but will usually not be able to produce any examples) but the use of "like" and "as" is not something teachers came up with to teach it but has been a defining characteristic of a simile.
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solipsister
 
  2  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 09:55 pm
Ragman wrote:
Finding an example of a simile without 'as' or 'like' is like finding a needle in a haystack.


or akin to finding the straw that broke the camel's back

sweeting is such part sorrow
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 10:04 pm
Miklos7 wrote:
I don't think that the sentence you describe is not a special kind of simile; it's better described as a particularly obviously stated metaphor. [For the record, I used to teach English. While in graduate school, I took an afternoon job, teaching grammar--and only grammar--at a local private day school. An absurd situation. No wonder my predecessor had quit. I quite probably developed the only 6th-graders in town who actually could explain a nominative absolute. Of course, I cheated on the curriculum by my reading to them as well. Otherwise, we all would have gone mad.] Theoretically, a simile need not include the words "like" or "as" to set up a comparison, but I've never seen such a comparison that couldn't better be parsed as a low-tension (because of little surprise or novelty) metaphor.

I am entirely willing to be convinced that a comparison without "like" or "as" could be a simile; I just haven't seen one yet. It's like the famous black swan!





Huh?


I've seen thousands of them....like, every day when I walk to work.....I think it's more like the famous blue rose.


http://www.wwt.org.uk/research/images/Black_Swan06.jpg
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SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Mar, 2008 02:00 pm
Robert Gentel wrote:
SCoates wrote:
Hmm... not to be rude, but by definition, the first example is a simile.


No, it is not. A simile, by definition, uses "like" or "as".

Britannica wrote:
simile:

figure of speech involving a comparison between two unlike entities. In the simile, unlike the metaphor, the resemblance is explicitly indicated by the words "like" or "as."

http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9067844/simile


You will find some reference works that state otherwise (even some grammar dictionaries), (some include "resemble", some say smilies almost always use "like" or "as" but will usually not be able to produce any examples) but the use of "like" and "as" is not something teachers came up with to teach it but has been a defining characteristic of a simile.


But I just came up with an example that doesn't, so...
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2008 01:36 pm
... it's not a simile.
giantcontessa
 
  3  
Reply Thu 2 Apr, 2009 03:02 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I'm a high school english teacher and it is a constant frustration to me the way students have been taught, since kindergarten, that the only difference between a simile and a metaphor is that one uses "like" or "as" and the other doesn't.

A simile is a comparison between two things where one this is said to be 'similair' to the other thing. A metaphor is a comparison where one this is said 'to be' the other thing, or stand for the other thing. The like or as rule was made by lazy teachers and unfortunately co-opted by some reference books. It is true that most of the time a simile will contain like or as, but not always, and simple rote memorization of that rule prevents a deeper understanding of the concepts.

Here's an example I gave my students today: "He looked the way a beaten dog might look."

This is a simile, a comparison between two things, in this case a person and a beaten dog, where they are said to be alike, but not the same thing.

"He was a beaten dog," would be a metaphor.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 2 Apr, 2009 04:13 pm
@giantcontessa,
giantcontessa,

Welcome to able2know. I personally am not a fan of the "like or as" clause and understand the fundamental differences between the two. However, if enough authoritative references define it that way then my qualms seem to have been overruled.
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Stosh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2010 04:09 pm
@giantcontessa,
Thanks for a great explanation giantcontessa.

I'm a programmer who has been trying to become a better writer (I'm barely adequate at best). On the subject of "simile, metaphor, and analogy" there are a great deal of really horrible, though very authoritatively presented, explanations out there.

I researched, and wrote my own blog entry about it, in an attempt to simply sift through everything that was out there. For me, the key to sorting it all out, was to find the explanations that were self-consistent. Your explanation meets this requirement.

Most of the blog-entries on this had simile right, though often resorted to the "rule-of-thumb" syntactical explanation you have alluded to above. Less had metaphor right, often just explaining it as some mysterious word for "expanded simile". Finally, almost nobody had analogy right. One blog simply quoted the wiki article, which in turn, was nothing but a shameless list of Sokalisms (hard to believe, i know).

Thanks for the clarity, and for being self-consistent.


The following probably doesn't make it clearer. Really just having some fun and hoping you will not be able to resist correcting my understanding if you notice it's wrong. Smile

Start with a "rule-of-thumb" simile:

His love for her is like the fires of Centralia.

Let's also use another simile and say:
The phrase "similar to" is like the word "like"

Now, let us use this simile (metonym?) metaphorically to re-state our first simile:

His love for her is similar to the fires of Centralia.

Why isn't this a simile?


Smile

young and innocent
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Sep, 2012 05:51 pm
@Miklos7,
well i was reading "The Aeneid" and in book four, i caught a passage that i think may be a kind of simile.
"Above the rest, Aeneas walked to meet her,
To join his retinue with hers. (and here is where i think the simile is!)
He seemed---
Think of the lord Apollo in the spring
When he leaves wintering in Lycia
By Xanthus torrent, for his mother's isle
Of Delos, to renew the festival;
Around his alters Cretans, Dryopes,
And painted Agathyrsans raise a shout,
But the god walks the Cynthein ridge alone
And smooths his hair, binds it in fronded laurel,
Braids it in gold; and shafts ring on his shoulders.
So elated and swift, Aeneas walked
With sunlit grace upon him.

what do you think?
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Tue 25 Sep, 2012 05:58 pm
@Stosh,
As a programmer I'd think perhaps you might notice the small detail of a 3 or 4-yr-old datestamp?
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McTag
 
  2  
Reply Wed 26 Sep, 2012 01:11 am

Like the beat, beat, beat of the tom-tom
when the jungle shadows fall
Like the tick,tick, tock of the stately clock
as it stands against the wall
Like the drip, drip drip of the rain drops
when the summer shower's through
A voice within me keeps repeating ......
0 Replies
 
 

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