Metaphor Examples for Writers

Examples of Good and Bad Metaphors

When learning to use figures of speech such as metaphors (comparing two things without using the words "like" or "as") it definitely helps to have examples as a guide. Below you'll find a few metaphor examples (some successful, some not) to help you in your creative writing efforts.

Metaphor Examples Used in Everyday Life

American thriller writer Raymond Chandler
Evening Standard/Stringer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

We don't have to look very far to find examples of metaphors. We hear (and use) them every day, from sayings like "it's raining cats and dogs" to "table leg" and "old flame," everyday speech is full of them. See more examples here. More

Metaphor Examples from Literature

If you're looking for examples of metaphors in contemporary literature, you can't do better than to look at Raymond Chandler, the hard-boiled detective novelist. Use the link above to study examples from "The Long Goodbye" (such as "He was eager to help but his legs were rubber . .. ") to see how Chandler crafts metaphors that create an image in our minds and supports the novel's themes.

Then see how a very different writer, Eudora Welty, uses figurative language in handling what could be a sentimental story in her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel ​"The Optimist's Daughter." More

Mixed Metaphors

Like most literary devices, metaphors bomb when used incorrectly. They end up either confusing the reader or drawing attention to the writer's lack of skill. For instance, in the statement, "Our keyboard will teach your mind's eye to play by ear," the speaker has mixed two metaphors, leading to nonsense. A "mind's eye" can't play anything, and certainly not "by ear." Here's where you can learn how to use metaphors correctly. More

Metaphors So Bad They're Good?

Are there times that a bad metaphor can become a useful tool? Absolutely.

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