"My car is a he", or "my iphone is a girl" is an example of what literary term?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No, these examples are not similes. They are metaphors. A simile is a comparison of two things using the words "like" or "as." A metaphor is also a comparison, but it does not use "like" or "as." It simply states that one thing is another.

For instance, in order to turn "my car is a he" into a simile, you'd have to change it to "my car is like a boy." The same thing goes for the other example: "my iphone is like a girl."

If you were to write "my iphone sings like a girl," then you'd have two different figures of speech: simile, because of the comparison, and personification, because you're giving the human ability to sing to an inanimate object.

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renkins44 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well technically that is a metaphor -- a comparison that does not use "like" or "as". However, I think you're looking for personification -- giving living qualities to an inanimate object. In this case, a living organism is not simply compared to an inanimate object but it is actually embedded with its qualities. For example, "the trees danced under the storm." There is no use of like or as here but personification is the element.