Creative comparisons

Home learning focus

Learn how to make creative comparisons to examine and update overused similes and metaphors.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos to help you understand how and why you might use a simile

  • two activities

Learn

Comparisons can be a good way to make unfamiliar things familiar, to make new connections, or to suggest different qualities and attributes to people, places or objects in your writing. Think about how to avoid overused or worn-out phrases and instead create powerful comparisons for your reader.

Watch this short clip to explore how and why you might use a simile.

What is a simile? How and why would you use one? Bitesize explains with examples from ‘George Square’ by Jackie Kay.

Using a simile is just one way to make a creative comparison. You can also use metaphors to make comparisons. The difference between two techniques is shown in the table below.

TechniqueExampleExplanation
Simile - a comparison where one thing is described as something else, using like or as.He looked as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a cake.This really means he looked obvious and noticeable, he stood out, could not be missed.
Metaphor - a comparison where one thing is described in terms of something else. It's not actually true but it gives the reader a clearer idea of what it is like. His house was now his prison.The idea here is someone feels their house is a place where they feel trapped, imprisoned or locked in; a place where they lack freedom.

Watch the following clip to see how writer Kate Clanchy encourages students to find inspiration and create poetic images using comparison.

Writer and teacher Kate Clanchy asks a group of teenagers to write down poetic images inspired by The Great Hall of Oxfordshire's Broughton Castle.

Practise

Activity 1

Check your understanding.

Take the following five overused similes and on some paper, rewrite them finding more original objects and ideas for comparison.

Remember the tarantula on the cake.

  • As strong as an ox.

  • As quiet as a mouse.

  • As light as a feather.

  • As clear as mud.

  • As proud as a peacock.

Activity 2

Write about your home using similes and the techniques that Kate Clanchy suggested.

Compare it to a series of objects and ask yourself what would it be if it was ...

  • an animal?

  • a vehicle?

  • a type of food?

  • a time of day or time of year?

  • a plant?

When you have your list of ideas, develop it into a poem.

Top tip

Remember the tarantula on the cake! The more original your simile or metaphor, the better.

Example:

This house squats in the street like a predator waiting to ambush its prey.

The walls are November, grey and desolate.

Activity 3

For more practice updating tired and worn-out similes take a look at this activity sheet from Beyond Secondary Resources by Twinkl, which shows some common similes found in fiction texts.

You can either print out this activity sheet or write your answers on a piece of paper.

Want to take it further?
Can you think of any further genres and examples of worn-out similes? Continue onto another page and add more examples to the table.

Simile upgrade worksheet

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt about using comparisons to help you write creative similes and metaphors.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you make your writing interesting and engaging.

There's more to learn

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