Figurative language can be a great tool for unlocking the meaning, playfulness and power of language, and similes are one of the most common and user-friendly forms of figurative language. Read on for more information on what similes are and how to use them, and explore our collection of free printable simile worksheets.

What is a Simile?

A simile uses figurative language to compare two different things using the words “like” or “as.” For example, when we say or write that someone is “as happy as a clam,” we are using a simile to compare two different things: a person and a clam.

You can experiment with simile in your own writing to add interest for the reader. To make a simile particularly effective, you’ll want to reach beyond the obvious comparison and try for something a little more unique. For example:

His smile was like an icy wind.
Her handshake was as warm as towels from the dryer.
My family is like a mixed-up drawer of socks.

Check our more Simile Examples.

Remember, despite how the word sounds, a simile isn’t a phrase to simply join two similar things. Instead, the goal is to create an interesting connection in the reader’s mind that will spark their interest in your writing!

Where Can We Find Similes?

Similes are abundant in poetry, fiction and even song lyrics. You can also find examples of simile in many popular advertisements, such as Chevrolet’s “Like a Rock” slogan. However, many popular similes are cliches — overused phrases that sound a little bit corny and trite. Watch out for cliched similes, and notice what makes a simile feel “fresh” as opposed to played out. For students, you may want to try keeping a simile log, where you can can jot down similes that you read or hear. Recording these phrases can help you identify which similes you like best so that you can start creating some of your own.

How Can We Use Similes?

Using similes in a story, poem, song or even an academic project can help engage your reader and make your writing a lot more fun! Looking at pieces of writing that use similes can be a great starting point for your own writing. Try this simile exercise based on a poem to create your own original simile that isn’t just another cliche.

Similes are a great tool to have in your language tool belt, and they are fairly easy to start identifying and writing on your own. In other words, figurative language is like a cold lake on a hot summer day — so jump in, and start splashing around!