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Simile vs. Comparison: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things using "like" or "as," while comparison is the act of evaluating similarities and differences.
Simile vs. Comparison

Key Differences

A simile is a specific type of comparison that explicitly uses the words "like" or "as" to show similarities between two different things. For example, saying "as busy as a bee" uses a simile to compare someone's level of activity to that of a bee.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
Comparison, in broader terms, involves any assessment of two or more items to identify their similarities and differences. It does not necessarily use "like" or "as" and is not limited to figurative language.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
Similes are often used in literary contexts to create vivid imagery or draw a striking parallel for the reader. They are a key tool in poetry and prose, allowing writers to describe concepts in relatable terms.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
While comparison is a broader cognitive process used in reasoning and argumentation, it's a fundamental part of critical thinking, used across various disciplines, not just literature. Comparisons can be drawn in everyday conversation as well as in scientific and analytical writing.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
Essentially, a simile is a literary device, a subset within the wider concept of comparison. All similes are comparisons, but not all comparisons use the stylistic approach of a simile.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

A figure of speech using "like" or "as".
The act of evaluating two or more items.
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Nov 08, 2023

Usage

Primarily in literary contexts.
In any context requiring analysis.
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Nov 08, 2023

Structure

Must contain "like" or "as".
No specific linguistic structure required.
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Nov 08, 2023

Purpose

To create vivid imagery or analogies.
To assess attributes or qualities.
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Examples

"Her smile was like sunshine."
"Java and Python have different syntax."
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Simile and Comparison Definitions

Simile

Simile: A literary figure comparing two unlike things using "like" or "as".
The water was as smooth as glass.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Comparison

The analysis of two objects to understand their relationship.
The teacher asked for a comparison of the two art styles.
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Nov 08, 2023

Simile

Simile: A rhetorical tool using comparison words to create an analogy.
The computer hummed like a busy bee.
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Comparison

Assessing one thing in relation to another.
She made a comparison between the two manuscripts.
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Simile

Simile: An explicit comparison to illustrate similarity.
He fought like a lion.
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Comparison

A study of differences and likenesses among things.
His comparison of different software showed diverse features.
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Simile

Simile: A descriptive technique in writing to liken one thing to another.
The fog crept in like a thief.
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Nov 08, 2023

Comparison

The act of comparing or the process of being compared.
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Oct 19, 2023

Simile

Simile: A poetic device that equates two different entities for effect.
Her eyes shone like stars.
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Nov 08, 2023

Comparison

A statement or estimate of similarities and differences.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Simile

A figure of speech in which two essentially unlike things are compared, often in a phrase introduced by like or as, as in "How like the winter hath my absence been" or "So are you to my thoughts as food to life" (Shakespeare).
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Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

The quality of being similar or equivalent; likeness
No comparison between the two books.
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Oct 19, 2023

Simile

A figure of speech in which one thing is explicitly compared to another, using e.g. like or as.
Figure of speech
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Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

(Grammar) The modification or inflection of an adjective or adverb to denote the positive, comparative, and superlative degrees, as in English, along with the equative degree in certain other languages, such as Irish Gaelic.
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Oct 19, 2023

Simile

A word or phrase by which anything is likened, in one or more of its aspects, to something else; a similitude; a poetical or imaginative comparison.
A good swift simile, but something currish.
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Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

The act of comparing or the state or process of being compared.
To bring a thing into comparison with another;
There is no comparison between them
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Oct 19, 2023

Simile

A figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds (usually formed with `like' or `as')
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Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

An evaluation of the similarities and differences of one or more things relative to some other or each other.
He made a careful comparison of the available products before buying anything.
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Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

With a negation, the state of being similar or alike.
There really is no comparison between the performance of today's computers and those of a decade ago.
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Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

(grammar) A feature in the morphology or syntax of some languages whereby adjectives and adverbs are inflected to indicate the relative degree of the property they define exhibited by the word or phrase they modify or describe.
In English, adjectives and adverbs have three forms when making a comparison: the plain form "hot", the comparative form "hotter", and the superlative form "hottest".
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Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

That to which, or with which, a thing is compared, as being equal or like; illustration; similitude.
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Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

(rhetoric) A simile.
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Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

(phrenology) The faculty of the reflective group which is supposed to perceive resemblances and contrasts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

The act of comparing; an examination of two or more objects with the view of discovering the resemblances or differences; relative estimate.
As sharp legal practitioners, no class of human beings can bear comparison with them.
The miracles of our Lord and those of the Old Testament afford many interesting points of comparison.
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Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

The state of being compared; a relative estimate; also, a state, quality, or relation, admitting of being compared; as, to bring a thing into comparison with another; there is no comparison between them.
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Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

That to which, or with which, a thing is compared, as being equal or like; illustration; similitude.
Whereto shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what comparison shall we compare it?
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Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

The modification, by inflection or otherwise, which the adjective and adverb undergo to denote degrees of quality or quantity; as, little, less, least, are examples of comparison.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

A figure by which one person or thing is compared to another, or the two are considered with regard to some property or quality, which is common to them both; e.g., the lake sparkled like a jewel.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

The faculty of the reflective group which is supposed to perceive resemblances and contrasts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

To compare.
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Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

Examining resemblances or differences
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Comparison

Relation based on similarities and differences
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Comparison

Qualities that are comparable;
No comparison between the two books
Beyond compare
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Oct 19, 2023

Comparison

The act of evaluating two or more items for similarities or differences.
The comparison of market prices can be complex.
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Nov 08, 2023

Comparison

The consideration of characteristics to discern quality.
He drew a comparison between the two athletes' performances.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is comparison used in daily language?

Yes, people use comparison often to analyze and describe things in everyday conversation.
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What defines a simile?

A simile is a literary device using "like" or "as" to compare two different things.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Can a simile exist without "like" or "as"?

No, these words are necessary for a comparison to be considered a simile.
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Nov 08, 2023

Can a simile compare more than two things?

Generally, similes compare two things at a time for clarity.
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Nov 08, 2023

Is comparison always used in literature?

No, comparison is a general analytical process used in various contexts.
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Nov 08, 2023

Are similes only found in poetry?

No, similes are used in all forms of literature, including prose and non-fiction.
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Nov 08, 2023

Can comparison be visual instead of verbal?

Yes, comparisons can be made visually, like in charts or graphs.
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Nov 08, 2023

How does a simile differ from an analogy?

An analogy is a more extended comparison for argument or explanation, while a simile is typically brief and figurative.
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Nov 08, 2023

Can similes be negative?

Yes, similes can be used to draw negative comparisons as well.
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Nov 08, 2023

Are comparisons subjective or objective?

They can be both, depending on the context and the intent behind the comparison.
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Can similes become clichés?

Yes, overused similes can become clichéd and lose their impact.
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Nov 08, 2023

Do similes have to be realistic?

No, similes can use imaginative comparisons for creative effect.
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Nov 08, 2023

Can anything be compared?

Theoretically, yes, but some comparisons might not be meaningful or useful.
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Nov 08, 2023

Can a simile be too far-fetched?

Yes, if the comparison is too obscure, it may not be effective for the reader.
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Nov 08, 2023

Do all comparisons show similarities?

No, comparisons can also highlight differences.
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Nov 08, 2023

Is a metaphor a simile?

No, a metaphor is another figure of speech that implies comparison without using "like" or "as".
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Nov 08, 2023

Are comparisons always objective?

Not necessarily; subjective opinions can influence comparisons.
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Nov 08, 2023

Why use comparisons in writing?

To explain, clarify, or enhance descriptions through relatable examples.
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Nov 08, 2023

Are there rules for forming comparisons?

In grammar, comparative adjectives often use "more" or "-er" to form comparisons.
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Nov 08, 2023

Do similes contribute to imagery?

Yes, similes are a powerful tool to create vivid imagery in writing.
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Nov 08, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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