One of the more intriguing ways many of us use language is through metaphors.
It’s like using one of a set of specialized tools to complete a project, instead of only using a multi-tool. No, wait, that’s a simile.
A metaphor is figure of speech, or an image, in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action not literally, but by means of comparison or analogy. A simile focuses more on the idea of a comparison, normally connected by words such as ‘like’ or ‘as’.
With more freedom in the construct of a metaphor, there comes more responsibility – to come up with meaningful, hopefully colourful, symbolic imagery.
Good dialogue, be it oral or written, often includes some vibrant metaphorical construction. One favourite which comes to mind occurred in an episode of the iconic TV series MASH. In it, Colonel Potter wants to draw attention, in his homespun way, to the terrific work efforts of many of the 4077 in completing a project. He describes how “they worked harder than a woodpecker in a petrified forest”. Now, that sounds like very tough work…
Metaphors take advantage of image enriching opportunity. Perhaps we should explore them more in our everyday discourse…
- The salt and pepper shakers are two soldiers on the edge of a battlefield
- Depending on that benchmark means putting our fate in the hands of a blinded dart thrower
- Knowing greetings in several languages puts a bigger smile on the welcome mat
- Our flight was longer than a three-legged turtle relay race
- The air was tougher to freshen than a fan strewn with undesirable particles
- The fluff was harder to find than a feather in an abandoned pillow factory
- Apples and oranges are not wide enough to cover those shades of diverse opinion
- The sky tonight is a pool of bright colours stirred by a very slow mixer
I like truckin’ except for the greasy parts.
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