What’s the difference between an analogy and a metaphor?

trainwreck

Montparnasse station in Paris, 1895. The engineer came in too fast and the brakes failed. Photographer unknown, via wikimedia

An analogy is a comparison, especially one that points to similar facts in separate cases and draws a conclusion. Example: “My presentation is about 15 minutes long, like all the others. It’ll be fine.”

A metaphor compares a fact to a mental picture, or image, which may seem unrelated but offers insight or dramatic impact. Example: “Your presentation was a train wreck.”

Tip: A metaphor is always literally untrue.

Technical definition of a metaphor (in rhetoric): Description of a thing in terms that would ordinarily be used for something else, and so suggesting a comparison. Example: Hilary flew out of the room.

Definition of a simile: A metaphor mediated by “like” or “as.” Example: My love is like a red, red rose. (Robert Burns)

(Posted on FB June 28, 2014)

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One thought on “What’s the difference between an analogy and a metaphor?

  1. Pingback: Drink the Kool-Aid. | Metaphor Awareness Month

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