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Tue Nov 5, 2019, 11:33 AM

Do they still teach the difference between simile and metaphor? I ask because...

... it has dawned on me that the only reason to teach such a thing outside of an advanced class in the technical analysis of writing is to give people something to prove that they're a member of the educated class. If you were taught this (and it is often referenced as an example of erudition), and are not some sort of writer or teacher of English, has it ever been of use to you?

I realize that my knowing the difference has given me a secret sense of superiority.

I hope it's been removed from the curriculum.

But I'm not happy about dropping cursive writing!

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Reply Do they still teach the difference between simile and metaphor? I ask because... (Original post)
LAS14 Nov 2019 OP
wryter2000 Nov 2019 #1
Mike 03 Nov 2019 #2
BlueMTexpat Nov 2019 #11
TheBlackAdder Nov 2019 #23
wasupaloopa Nov 2019 #26
BlueMTexpat Nov 2019 #30
ProudLib72 Nov 2019 #33
BlueMTexpat Nov 2019 #41
Cuthbert Allgood Nov 2019 #18
LisaM Nov 2019 #3
Act_of_Reparation Nov 2019 #22
LisaM Nov 2019 #39
Act_of_Reparation Nov 2019 #42
exboyfil Nov 2019 #4
Mariana Nov 2019 #9
Claritie Pixie Nov 2019 #10
underpants Nov 2019 #5
dawg day Nov 2019 #6
rusty fender Nov 2019 #13
dawg day Nov 2019 #28
rusty fender Nov 2019 #32
rownesheck Nov 2019 #7
dawg day Nov 2019 #31
rownesheck Nov 2019 #36
dawg day Nov 2019 #38
brush Nov 2019 #8
DavidDvorkin Nov 2019 #12
LAS14 Nov 2019 #15
DavidDvorkin Nov 2019 #17
LAS14 Nov 2019 #20
DavidDvorkin Nov 2019 #21
abqtommy Nov 2019 #14
LAS14 Nov 2019 #16
abqtommy Nov 2019 #34
lagomorph777 Nov 2019 #19
Ms. Toad Nov 2019 #24
LAS14 Nov 2019 #25
Goodheart Nov 2019 #27
nolabear Nov 2019 #29
ProudLib72 Nov 2019 #35
skip fox Nov 2019 #37
MineralMan Nov 2019 #40

Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 11:41 AM

1. I'm a writer

I know the difference. It's never been any help to me. Something either sounds good or it doesn't. For the most part, similes sound dumb to me. For example, "the tire exploded like an O. J. Simpson alibi." (From a published book by a best-selling author.)

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 11:41 AM

2. A metaphor is a type of similie, I think.

And an analogy is another kind. I had to look up the difference between analogy and metaphor a couple of weeks ago (or, not had to, wanted to). I guess it's not necessary to know it, though.

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Response to Mike 03 (Reply #2)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 12:47 PM

11. A simile uses "like" or "as"

to compare.

A metaphor just states the comparison outright.

An analogy describes how two things are similar.

******
Full disclosure: I was formerly a teacher of English and have also written and published various materials.

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Response to BlueMTexpat (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 04:01 PM

23. A metaphor compares two dissimilar things by linking them with a commonality.

.


This is one of the best poetic devices.

It should be used very sparingly, once or twice in a poem, song lyrics or other set of works.

Use order, based on prevalence: Simile, then analogy(ies), then a single metaphor.


My brother was boiling mad. (This implies he was too angry.)

The assignment was a breeze. (This implies that the assignment was not difficult.)

It is going to be clear skies from now on. (This implies that clear skies are not a threat and life is going to be without hardships)

The skies of his future began to darken. (Darkness is a threat; therefore, this implies that the coming times are going to be hard for him.)

Her voice is music to his ears. (This implies that her voice makes him feel happy)

https://literarydevices.net/metaphor/



It is not to be confused with symbolism.

The dove is a symbol of peace.

A red rose, or the color red, stands for love or romance.

Black is a symbol that represents evil or death.

https://literarydevices.net/symbolism/


.

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Response to BlueMTexpat (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 04:40 PM

26. I'm like wow!

 

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Response to wasupaloopa (Reply #26)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 05:39 PM

30. ...

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Response to BlueMTexpat (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 07:05 PM

33. Your post resembles the textbook definition

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #33)

Wed Nov 6, 2019, 04:07 AM

41. Yes, it does.



Please note my disclosure above.

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Response to Mike 03 (Reply #2)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 03:02 PM

18. Metaphor if figurative and simile is literal (kind of--it doesn't pretend one is the other).

They are both comparisons.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 11:41 AM

3. Do they teach either?

I ask because I feel that as a society we are becoming increasingly incapable of nuance (or humor), both of which can be captured in knowing what a simile and metaphor are.

I don't know what you mean by "writer of English", but I'm not a teacher of English (now you have me wondering if they still teach passive voice!) but I was an English major and knowing the difference makes my reading much more pleasurable.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 03:54 PM

22. Ugh.

Whatever.

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Response to Act_of_Reparation (Reply #22)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 08:02 PM

39. Ugh, whatever?

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Response to LisaM (Reply #39)

Wed Nov 6, 2019, 09:59 AM

42. Nuance.

Confusion followed by feigned laughter, as indicated by an animated pictograph intended to convey extreme amusement but most commonly deployed when one has dropped themselves into a pit trap of their own construction.

Enjoy your pantomime, and think fondly upon the halcyon days of your youth, when people were, like, way smarter and stuff.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 11:50 AM

4. Who remembers if you don't use it

Also who keeps up their cursive writing after learning it. My test essays in high school were in print. I think some of my female classmates still had beautiful cursive, but they were perfect anyway.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 12:15 PM

9. Some people insist that writing cursive is faster than lettering.

It never seems to occur to them that they were forced to write in cursive in school for years, and penalized if they didn't. After that, having so much more practice writing in cursive, of course they're faster at it. If they had lettered all that time, they would do that faster.

I dropped cursive as soon as I could. My handwriting was and is neat and legible, but it slants to the left, always did, and my papers were always covered with red marks because of it.

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Response to Mariana (Reply #9)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 12:43 PM

10. I use a combo of print and cursive to write faster.

Through years of taking notes in my work, I developed my own system that's still faster than typing.

Whether anyone can read it is another story lol.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 11:52 AM

5. Luckily we have the internets so we don't have to remember anything anymore

While both similes and metaphors are used to make comparisons, the difference between similes and metaphors comes down to a word. Similes use the words like or as to compare things—“Life is like a box of chocolates.” In contrast, metaphors directly state a comparison—“Love is a battlefield.”

https://www.grammarly.com/blog/whats-the-difference-between-a-simile-and-a-metaphor/

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 11:58 AM

6. Well, I'm a fiction writer, and I think the difference is unimportant--

The important thing is to get that we can use words and images in ways that aren't literal-- metaphors, similes, analogies, parables, tropes, memes, symbols, motifs, themes, figures of speech. Fiction itself is sort of a huge extended metaphor of reality. That's an important cognitive concept, that something can stand for something else, that reality and truth can be expressed in creative ways.

But yes, the idea that using "like" makes a simile so much different from metaphor is pretty lame.

I kind of enjoy finding "anachronistic" metaphors that everyone uses and no one knows what it once meant literally, like "part and parcel" and "layman's view", "kicking the bucket" (and its newer corollary, "the bucket list".

I can see "cursive" writing and "penmanship" in the future being taught almost as an art form. Calligraphy classes?

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Response to dawg day (Reply #6)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 01:23 PM

13. I also find the old metaphors and sayings interesting,

 

especially because my father used them frequently.

I’ve researched “the whole nine yards” but haven’t stumbled on a plausible definition.

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Response to rusty fender (Reply #13)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 05:14 PM

28. I always thought it was from football, but that's 10 yards!

Someone told me it's about a bolt of cloth.

I prefer to think that it's kind of a joke: "Just get the whole nine yards and you'll get a first down!"
"Oops, I meant TEN."

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Response to dawg day (Reply #28)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 07:00 PM

32. I thought the same thing about a bolt of material

 

I thought that in the past that bolts of cloth came in 9 yard lengths, but I haven’t been able to confirm this

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 11:59 AM

7. Hell,

I don't think they even teach spelling anymore. My daughter is in 3rd grade and I haven't come across any spelling homework or tests. She can't spell worth a flip! She's still pretty smart, though.

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Response to rownesheck (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 05:43 PM

31. Spelling-- have her pay attention to words as she reads-

I think that's how a lot of good spellers learn to spell, just by recognizing the words.

You can also get her involved in spelling bees, and pretty soon you'll have to drill her in words none of us have ever heard of.
esquamulose
squalloon

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Response to dawg day (Reply #31)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 07:18 PM

36. I've always been a good speller

but in 6th grade I went out early in my school's spelling bee. I was one of the favorites to win. I didn't study at all beforehand and went out on "caloric". Still disappointed over that, and it was 31 years ago!

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Response to rownesheck (Reply #36)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 07:30 PM

38. Same here-- it was third grade, and I put an extra "t" in monument.

The nun was sure that I'd blown it on purpose, but no, I was just over-confident. I never learned the lesson of studying hard beforehand, but I do know how to spell monument at least!

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 12:07 PM

8. Why remove them from the curriculum? They are what they are, parts of....

Last edited Tue Nov 5, 2019, 12:59 PM - Edit history (1)

language, great for visualization and can make excellent thread posts.

For instance: She was like a boss as she drop-kicked him in his big, orange ass.

Or: She was a boss as she stood and pointed at him and said everything about you comes back to Russia.

We have excellent material for them squatting in the WH.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 01:11 PM

12. Knowing how to write cursive is like knowing how to use an astrolabe.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 02:48 PM

15. Maybe, but what about knowing how to read it? E.g., parents/grandparents letters? nt

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Response to LAS14 (Reply #15)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 02:59 PM

17. I'm a grandparent

And the title of my post was a simile.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #17)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 03:39 PM

20. And you think no other grandparents write letters in cursive? nt

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Response to LAS14 (Reply #20)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 03:52 PM

21. I assume so

But we'll all die off, and with any luck, cursive will die off, as well.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 02:36 PM

14. For me what matters these days is that a person can learn anything they want to online.

We don't have to wonder if the subject matter is still being taught. And as a person who always
failed penmanship I can say that the best course I took in high school was touch typing which I'm using to construct this message!

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Response to abqtommy (Reply #14)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 02:49 PM

16. Without schooling, how do they know what to wonder about? nt

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Response to LAS14 (Reply #16)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 07:06 PM

34. Wonder and curiosity are not the provenance of any educaitonal system. I used to irritate

my teachers because I always asked "Why?". I'm the original Curious Child and I think it's genetic. Most educators I've known support the status quo and demand mediocrity from their students.

When I moved to a big city and started the 4th grade in 1958 I was teamed with a couple of other students to write a report. We went to the public library where I learned to do research using microfilm records. With that background you can be sure I'm a terror using the internet search feature! So I guess a public education did support my wonder and curiosity in ways I never imagined or thought of before.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 03:06 PM

19. I look at it this way: It's like....

an analogy...

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 04:02 PM

24. Pretty sure I learned it in 7th grade (or earlier)

In a relatively poor small town in rural Nebraska. Hardly a bastion for the erudite.

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Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #24)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 04:05 PM

25. Yeah, but "educated." That still is true in this country. We were being given...

... little badges. Useless for anything but to say we had jumped through the hoops. Right? I was one of only a few from my home town that went to college.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 04:59 PM

27. Say what?

You're objecting to variance forms of sentence construction having standardized labels?

There's very good reason to know the labels. For example, if you said "trump is a fucking ape" your defense against defamation would be that you were speaking METAPHORICALLY.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 05:25 PM

29. I'm a writer too and there can be vast differences.

If you think in terms of sentence structure it’s simple, and everyone replying so far has explained.

But in poetry or prose you can literally be talking about something by talking about something else. The Road Not Taken is described as a literal road but it’s clearly a metaphor for life decisions. In The New Colossus there’s no actual Golden Door. It’s a metaphor for the route to America’s opportunity.

Simile can’t do that.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 07:14 PM

35. I just taught it to my seventh graders last week

It is part of the common core curriculum, but that is not why I taught it. I taught it as part of an introduction into all of figurative language and to push their critical thinking skills. Exactly what is the difference in tone between the two? Can you recognize when an author is being literal versus figurative? Etc... Yes, I do believe there is worth in teaching it. Teaching metonymy is pushing it, but not simile and metaphor.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 07:21 PM

37. It's such a simple distinction. High school teachers make much of it.

I've taught English at the University level for 40 years an spend a few seconds on it in a freshman poetry class.

I also taught creative writing-poetry at the upper division an graduate level. We would discuss the effectiveness of one over the other, Metaphor, for instance, is more insistent, whereas using "like" or "as" tends to be less energetic or "sure" which might be fine for a more contemplative phrase.

It's never an empty distinction for the writer who cares what she or he is doing.

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Response to LAS14 (Original post)

Tue Nov 5, 2019, 08:06 PM

40. A simile is like a smile, but

with one more "i."

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