A metaphor is a word or phrase used to describe something as if it was something else. A metaphor isn’t a comparison – that’s a simile, where you say one thing is ‘like’ another (“Her eyes were like diamonds”). Instead, a metaphor is simply a statement where you are saying that one thing is another.
Take a look at the example of a metaphor in the speech bubble above. The man is saying “Life is a roller-coaster”. Think about what he means by this sentence – does he mean that his life is actually a real-life roller-coaster? Or is he describing it that way because he means his life has ups and down, similar to a roller-coaster?
The great thing about metaphors is that their possibilities are endless! You can describe absolutely anything using a metaphor – including objects, people, places, animals and things. Here are a few common metaphors that you may have heard people say:
Franklin has a heart of gold!
Mary’s voice is music to my ears
He’s a walking encyclopedia
You are my sunshine
The world’s a stage
Did you recognise any of those metaphors? Have you heard people say them before, read them in a book or used them yourself? When people use metaphors they are describing the situation as something else, usually for emphasis. They don’t literally mean what they are saying. For example:
Franklin has a heart of gold!: Franklin doesn’t actually have a heart made of gold! This metaphor is used to emphasise how kind and loving Franklin is – as if he was full of lovely things, like gold.
Mary’s voice is music to my ears: Music doesn’t really come out of Mary’s mouth when she talks! This metaphor emphasises the pleasant sound of Mary’s voice – how listening to it is as nice as listening to music.
He’s a walking Encyclopedia: Is there literally a book walking around the room? Probably not! This metaphor is saying that the boy has so much knowledge – it’s as if he’s an encyclopedia.
You are my sunshine: Do you actually mean that this person is a real-life sunshine? This metaphor describes how the person is happy and bright – just like the sun!
The world’s a stage: This metaphor is used to say that people’s lives are full of drama because so many things happen, so it’s comparing the world to a theatre stage.
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.