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A simile is a figure of speech that uses the words “like” or “as.” A simile usually compares two quite different things in a way that helps the reader form a mental picture. Here are some examples:

  • The soft mattress felt like a cloud to Karl after a long day of physical labour.
  • After finishing her last exam, Alina felt as light as a feather.

In these examples, the writer compares Karl’s bed to a cloud and Alina’s sense of buoyancy to the lightness of a feather. The effect on the reader is a clear mental image of comfort or relief.

Professional writers often use similes. Here are some examples from Canadian authors and poets:

  • “And there when lengthening twilights fall
    As softly as a wild bird’s wing…” —Bliss Carman
  • “Here and there a wild plum leaned out from the bank like a white-clad girl tip-toeing to her own reflection.”
    —L. M. Montgomery
  • “Moments before sleep are when she feels most alive, leaping across fragments of the day, bringing each moment into the bed with her like a child with schoolbooks and pencils.” —Michael Ondaatje
  • “Out of the jargoning city I regret,
    Rise memories like sparrows rising from
    The gutter-scattered oats,
    Like sadness sweet of synagogal hum,
    Like Hebrew violins
    Sobbing delight upon their Eastern notes.” —A. M. Klein

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