What Are Metaphors? Its Types and Effective Use

A metaphor can be best explained as a figure of speech that describes an object or action in a way that is not true but helps explain an idea or make a comparison. It tries to explain something by using words that are not connected to the topic being discussed. According to a dissertation proposal writing service, metaphors are a wonderful part of the English language; they not only enable a better understanding of meaning but also provide a poetical edge to the language that may otherwise not exist.

Basics Of A Metaphor:

  • A metaphor implies that one thing is another thing even when it is not so literally
  • It equates those two things not because they are the same, but for the sake of comparison or symbolism
  • If you take a metaphor literally, it will probably sound very strange such as if there are actually any sheep, black or otherwise, in your family?
  • Metaphors are used in poetry, literature, and anytime someone wants to add some color to their language and make it more interesting

If you are black sheep, you get cold feet or if you think love is a highway, then you are thinking metaphorically. These words are known as metaphors because a word or phrase is applied to something figuratively. Unless you are a sheep or dipping your toes in ice water, these metaphors help to represent abstract concepts through the use of language.

Definition Of Metaphor:

The official definition of metaphor, a word or phrase for one thing that is used to refer to another thing to show or suggest that they are similar “An object, activity, or idea that is used as a symbol of something else is also defined as a metaphor”.

When talking about metaphors, we must know that the literal interpretation will be pretty silly. These metaphors are not taken at face value but they help to interpret the emotions. Metaphors are mostly used in literature, poetry, music, and writing but they are also evident in speeches. If you hear someone say, ‘metaphorically speaking’ it means that you should not take what they say as the truth but as more of an idea.

Types Of Metaphors And Their Effective Usage:

Metaphors have an uplifting effect on whatever the speaker is saying and help the listeners understand better, getting an idea of what the speaker means to say. Mostly, metaphors are used loosely to mean any kind of symbolism. In literature, there are many types of metaphors. They are:

Implied Metaphor:

Implied metaphor departs from the “thing A is thing B” formula and allows you to make a more sophisticated and subtle type of comparison through, implication.

  • Example – Jordan got his courtship cues from the peacock. In a room full of ladies, Jordan simply fans his feathers.

In these sentences, we are comparing Jordan to a peacock. In the first sentence, the comparison is overt as the peacock is mentioned directly. But in the second sentence, it is implied that Jordan is the peacock by comparing his behavior, fanning his feathers, to something peacocks are known for doing. That does not mean that Jordan actually has feathers, but it is being implied that he is behaving in a showy and flirty way to catch the attention of the ladies.

Sustained Metaphor:

A sustained metaphor is carried through multiple sentences or even paragraphs. A sustained metaphor can be a powerful literary tool that provides strong, vivid imagery in the reader’s mind as it is used and developed over a longer section of text.  This kind of metaphor is often found in songs and poetry and was frequently used by Shakespeare in his plays.

  • Example – But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun! Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief.

Dead Metaphor:

A dead metaphor is a cliché that has become so commonplace that the imagery has lost its power. Some very common examples of dead metaphors include “raining cats and dogs,” “throw the baby out with the bathwater,” and “heart of gold.”

Mixed Metaphors:

These metaphors are exactly what they sound like, a combination of two unrelated metaphors.

  • Example – Even Napoleon had his Watergate.

However, if they are not used the right way, mixed metaphors can fail to deliver the right meaning and instead leave the other person confused.

Good, living metaphors can make can conversation, speech, or piece of writing enjoyable as it creates vivid imagery in the mind. Using good metaphors at the right place can keep the readers engaged and give them the motivation to read more and enjoy making sense in the play of words.