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What are some examples of similes and metaphors to describe a person's personality and appearance? It could either be positive description or negative.

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Marietta Sadler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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To describe someone's appearance using similes, you might say that he or she is as thin as a pole, or as scruffy as a cat that's been dragged through a bush. Or you might say that he or she has feet like flippers or eyes like saucers. Usually, as in the examples above, a simile will compare one thing to another using the word "like" or "as."

Thus, if you wanted to use a simile to describe someone's personality, you might say that he or she was as cruel as a tyrant or kind like a saint. Or you might say that he or she behaved like a toddler throwing a tantrum or was as playful as a puppy.

To use metaphors to describe someone's appearance, you simply replace the comparative word, which in most cases is "as" or "like," with a word like "is" or "was" to imply that one thing is in fact another, rather than simply being like another. For example, the phrase "he was as thin as a pole" becomes "he was a pole," and the phrase "she was as scruffy as a cat that's been dragged through a bush" becomes "she was a cat dragged through a bush."

Likewise, to use a metaphor to describe someone's personality, you might say she is a toddler throwing a tantrum. You might also say to describe someone's personality metaphorically that he or she is an angel or that he or she is a mischievous devil.

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amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Similes (comparisons using "like" or "as") and metaphors (direct comparisons without using "like" or "as") are wonderful tools by which an author relates something familiar to something unfamiliar in order to make the audience understand more clearly the unfamiliar item.  For example, in John Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning," he uses two metaphors.  In one, he compares his love for his wife to a compass.  When he leaves, she is the "fixed foot" of the compass which keeps him grounded, and he draws away from the center (home) to his destination.  She leans toward him, and he is forever connected to her.  As his trip comes full circle (as is the purpose of a compass), they are reunited and the compass is once again together and erect--the two become one again.  The other is that their love is like gold.  You can beat the gold into very thin strips, but it never breaks apart; so it is with their love.  It is strong and will never break even though they may be apart from one another.

Other examples are:  You are as stubborn as a mule.

                                    He is as graceful as a willow.

                                    Her eyes are black diamonds.

                                    He is the Devil.

                                    My sister's arrogance is second only                                       to Julius Caesar's.

I hope this helps you to understand this wonderful tool of figurative language, namely simile and metaphor.

 

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