Learn English Grammar

Learn English






Edulyte 24x7 English Class

Learn English anytime, anywhere

Find Classes

The Art of Metaphor A Journey into Definition, Examples, and Rules

Edulyte 24x7 English Class

Learn English anytime, anywhere

Find Classes
What will you learn

What is a metaphor? Get on board with Edulyte and discover the metaphor definition and upskill to figure out the metaphorical meaning of words and sentences. Just as metaphors add depth, creativity, and expressiveness to language, our skilled mentors guide you in navigating the intricate nuances of English learning. 

Introduction to Metaphor: What is a metaphor? What is a metaphor definition and its significance?

A metaphor definition will tell you that it is a powerful tool in language to communicate complex ideas, emotions, and experiences. Using metaphorical phrases allows speakers and writers to convey abstract concepts by drawing connections to more familiar or concrete elements. 

Metaphors have significant importance in language for several reasons: 

  • Metaphors can evoke emotions and engage the imagination of the audience. They enable us to tap into the sensory and emotional aspects of human experience, making language more relatable and impactful.
  • Metaphor examples like “time is money” uses metaphors to convey deeper meanings and create vivid mental pictures.

Understanding the Power of Metaphorical Expression: 

  • Metaphors can shape our perceptions, influence our thinking, and evoke strong emotional responses. 

Metaphorical language sparks creativity, allowing us to explore new ideas and express ourselves in unique and thought-provoking ways.

Exploring Metaphor Types

Metaphors can take various forms and serve different purposes in language and literature. Standard metaphors, extended metaphors or others are regularly employed in English. 

Standard Metaphor: Definition, Examples and How to Spot One

It involves comparing unrelated things that share certain similarities or qualities. 

Key characteristics:

  • They rely on familiarity and shared knowledge. For example, phrases like “time is money” or “the world is a stage” are standard metaphors that draw upon universally recognised ideas.
  • They tend to be fixed in their form and meaning. 

Standard metaphors are abundant in everyday language. Here are a few examples:

  1. “He’s a lion on the football field.” – This metaphor compares someone’s performance or behaviour in sports to the qualities typically associated with a lion, such as strength, bravery, and ferocity.

  2. “Life is a rollercoaster.” – This metaphor compares the ups and downs of life to the thrilling and unpredictable nature of a rollercoaster ride.

How to Identify and Interpret Standard Metaphors?

Identifying and interpreting standard metaphors involves recognising the figurative language and understanding the implied comparison. 

  1. Look for non-literal language: Pay attention to expressions that involve comparisons or attributes that don’t match the literal meaning of the words.

  2. Determine the two elements being compared: Identify the two subjects or concepts being compared in the metaphor.

  3. Understand the shared qualities or similarities: Consider what it is about the explicit element being emphasised or compared to the implicit element. 

Extended Metaphor: Definition, Examples and Appreciating its Impact

An extended metaphor is a literary device that expands on a single metaphor throughout a poem, story, or other forms of literature. 


Extended metaphors can be found in various works of literature and poetry, adding depth and richness to the text. 

  1. In William Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It,” Jaques delivers a famous monologue that begins with the line, “All the world’s a stage.” This monologue metaphorically compares different stages of life to specific theatrical roles, 

  2. In Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope is the thing with feathers,” the poet metaphorically sees hope as a bird throughout the poem. 

Analysing the Depth and Impact of Extended Metaphors

It involves examining the various ways the metaphor is developed and extended. 

  • By prolonging the comparison, they invite readers to delve deeper into the words’ meaning and make connections between seemingly unrelated concepts. 

  • Extended metaphors provide a way to communicate complex or abstract ideas in a more tangible and accessible manner.

Metaphor in Poetry: Find out the famous poems with Metaphors

Metaphor poems or using metaphors in poetry, poets can create vivid imagery, engage the reader’s senses, and elicit powerful emotions. Metaphorical language in poetry often goes beyond literal meanings, offering new perspectives and layers of meaning that enrich the poetic experience. Here are a few examples:

  1. “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost: In this poem, Frost uses a diverging road metaphor to represent life choices and the uncertainty that comes with them. 

  2. “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns: Burns uses a red rose metaphor to symbolise love in this romantic poem. 

Techniques for Writing Effective Metaphorical Poetry

To write compelling metaphorical poetry, consider the following methods:

  1. Identify the central concept: Determine the core idea or emotion you want to convey through your poem. 

  2. Immerse yourself in imagery: Use vivid and specific language to describe objects, experiences, or feelings, drawing upon sensory imagery to enhance the metaphoric expression.

  3. Make unexpected connections: Consider unconventional or surprising associations between your central concept and other elements. 

Metaphor in Various Contexts: Use of Metaphors in Your Favourite Fiction and Non-Fiction Works

In fiction, metaphors are often used to create vivid descriptions, develop characters, and establish themes. Metaphorical language illuminates character traits, symbolises conflicts or highlights the more prominent thematic elements in the narrative.

In non-fiction, metaphors make abstract or complex concepts more accessible and relatable. Metaphorical language in non-fiction can make intricate subjects more digestible, allowing readers to grasp concepts by relating them to familiar or concrete imagery. 

Impact of Metaphorical Language on Literary Works Metaphorical language profoundly impacts literary works. 

The use of metaphors can:

  1. Enhance imagery: Authors can create memorable descriptions that bring their words to life by comparing one thing to another. 

  2. Evoke emotions: By using metaphorical language to depict emotions or situations, writers can evoke empathy, sympathy, joy, or even fear.

  3. Communicate complex ideas: Metaphorical language enables writers to communicate complex thoughts, philosophical concepts, or social commentary in an intellectually stimulating and emotionally appealing way.

Metaphor in Everyday Language: Be it conversations or advertisements, Metaphors are Everywhere!

Metaphorical expressions and idioms add colour, imagery, and depth to our conversations. Here are some examples:

  1. “Time flies”: This metaphorical expression conveys the perception that time passes quickly, comparing it to a fast-flying bird. 

  2. “Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel”: This metaphorical phrase refers to a positive outlook or hope in a challenging situation. 

Common Metaphors Used in Advertising and Media

By employing metaphors, advertisers and media professionals tap into our emotions and associations to shape our opinions and buying behaviours. 


  • De Beers Group: A Diamond is Forever
  • Red Bull: Red Bull gives you wings.
  • Febreze Air Fresheners & Odor Eliminating Products: It’s a breath of fresh air
  • Budweiser: King of Beers

Metaphor vs. Simile: Learn to differentiate between them with Examples

Metaphors and similes are figures of speech that involve comparisons but differ in their structures and functions.

Metaphor: A metaphor is a figure of speech that directly equates one thing to another, suggesting a similarity without using “like” or “as.” 

Example: “Her laughter was music to my ears.”

Simile: A simile is a figure of speech that compares two things using “like” or “as.” Similes explicitly state the comparison, allowing for a more precise and direct understanding of the likeness between the two elements. 

Example: “He ran as fast as a cheetah.”

Metaphor: “Time is a thief.”

It directly compares time to a thief, implying that time takes away precious moments or opportunities. 

Simile: “He was as brave as a lion.”

In this simile, the person’s bravery is compared to the courage of a lion. Using “as” clarifies the comparison and highlights the person’s fearless nature.

Embracing the Metaphoric Mindset: Enhance your Communication Skills with Metaphors

Embracing the metaphoric mindset involves adopting a way of thinking that includes creativity, expressiveness, and imaginative connections. Metaphorical thinking encourages us to explore the world with curiosity and find beauty, depth, and meaning in the ordinary.

Metaphorical language can improve our communication skills by making our expressions more engaging, memorable, and relatable. It enables us to communicate with impact, capturing the essence of our messages and making them more accessible and resonant to others.

Incorporating Metaphors into Personal and Professional Writing

By incorporating metaphors, we can create powerful descriptions, evoke emotions, and convey complex ideas in a relatable and memorable way. Whether in personal essays, fiction, or professional reports, incorporating metaphors adds richness, depth, and impact to our writing, making it more compelling and resonant.

Tips for employing metaphors in personal and professional writing: 

  1. Cultivate curiosity: Train your mind to look beyond the surface and explore the deeper layers of meaning in people, objects, and experiences.

  2. Read widely and expose yourself to diverse perspectives: Reading literature, poetry, and works from various fields reveals you to different metaphoric expressions and ways of thinking. 

  3. Practice metaphorical thinking: Encourage your imagination to make connections and find unconventional ways to express yourself. 

  4. Experiment with metaphoric language in your writing: Integrate metaphors into your personal and professional writing to engage your readers and convey your ideas more effectively. 

Metaphor in Action: Real-Life Examples

Here are some real-life examples where metaphors are at play:

  1. Time is money: This metaphorical expression suggests that time is a valuable resource that should be used wisely, much like money. 

  2. Life is a journey: This common metaphor frames life as a journey with its ups and downs, milestones, detours, and destinations. 

Use the Infographic below to become a metaphor pro. Download it for free and share it! Learning was never this easy!

list of adverbs for kids

Transform Your English Skills

Free sign-up for a personalised dashboard, learning tools, and unlimited possibilities!

Sign up Now Learn English Grammar Online

PTE Tutorials: Fast-Track to Your Top Score!

Master PTE: Dive in for success!

Sign up Now Learn English

Key Takeaways

  1. Metaphors are powerful linguistic tools that add depth, imagery, and emotion to communication.

  2. Metaphors compare two unrelated things to convey abstract concepts in a relatable and vivid manner.

  3. They enhance creativity and expressiveness in language, making messages more engaging and memorable.

  4. They are found in everyday conversations, literature, poetry, advertising, and media.

  5. Different types of metaphors are standard, extended, dead, mixed, and conceits.


Check your score in the end


Check your score in the end
Question of

Question comes here

Frequently Asked Questions

How do metaphors enhance communication and expression?

Metaphors enhance communication and expression by making abstract concepts more concrete, relatable, and vivid. T. By employing metaphors, we tap into the power of figurative language to capture attention, stimulate imagination, and foster deeper connections with our audience.

Can metaphors be used in everyday conversations?

Yes, metaphors can be and are often used in everyday conversations. “Time flies” expresses how quickly time passes, and describing someone as “having a heart of gold” emphasises their kindness. 

Are there cultural or regional variations in metaphor usage?

Yes, there are cultural and regional variations in metaphor usage. Metaphors are shaped by the cultural, historical, and social contexts in which they emerge. Different cultures and regions have unique metaphors that reflect their values, beliefs, and experiences.

For example, in English, we often use metaphors related to sports, such as “play hardball,” originating from baseball. 

How can I come up with my creative metaphors?
  1. Brainstorming: Start by brainstorming a list of related words or concepts about what you want to describe.

  2. Make connections: Look for unexpected connections between the words or concepts on your list. 

  3. Use sensory imagery: Engage your senses and think about how the topic you want to describe might look, sound, taste, smell, or feel. 

  4. Play with analogies: Compare your topic to something else by identifying shared attributes, relationships, or characteristics. Analogies help you see your subject in a new light and open up possibilities for metaphorical connections.
What are some famous metaphors in poetry and literature?
  1. “All the world’s a stage”William Shakespeare, from his play As You Like It. 

  2. “Hope is the thing with feathers”Emily Dickinson

  3. “The road not taken”Robert Frost, from his poem “The Road Not Taken.” 
Share it with your friends

Learn English


Sign up for Learner Newsletter

Subscribe now for discounts, learning resources, blogs and guides. We do not spam.

We won’t pass your details on to anyone else. By clicking the subscribe button you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.


Sign up for Tutor Newsletter

Subscribe now for discounts, learning resources, blogs and guides. We do not spam.

We won’t pass your details on to anyone else. By clicking the subscribe button you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PTE Tutorials: Customised Packages for Every Learner


$75 AUD

One time



$275 AUD

One time


$575 AUD

One time