A figure of speech wherein objects of nature, animals, inanimate objects or abstract ideas are treated as if they had a personality and were human beings. Examples:

  • The sea was singing songs.
  • The river glideth at his own sweet will.
  • The Ant said to the Grass-hopper.
  • The parrot sang sweet songs.
  • Melancholy marked him for her own.
  • Death lays his icy hands on kings.

Personification is usually expressed:

Through Verbs: Express feelings or actions connected with human beings.

  • The very walls will cry out against it.
  • The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night.
  • Anxiety is sitting on his face.
  • Earth felt the wound.
  • Woods rejoiced and welcomed him.
  • Mute nature mourns her worshipper.

Through Adjectives:

The raging storm, the angry sea, the hungry shore, the smiling land, the blushing rose, the sullen sky, the remorseless heat, furious waves, pitiless cold, etc.


Metaphor is a figure of speech where there is an implied comparison betwen two objects, persons or situations. Metaphor does not state, like a simile, that one thing is or acts like another thing. Metaphor states that the two things are one and in a manner identical. Metaphor  is a figure of of identification, e.g. Her eyes are like pearls. (The comparison is implied. Eyes are identified with pearls. Unlike a simile there is no use of ‘like’ or ‘as’.

Metaphor is usually expressed in the following forms:

1. Explicit identification:

  • The camel is the ship of the desert.
  • Procrastination is the thief of time.
  • Old age is the sunset of life.
  • Idleness is the nursery of sinful thoughts.

2. By the use of ‘of’:

  • He was faced by a sea of troubles.
  • Let us fight with the weapon of truth.
  • Hold fast to the anchor of faith, hope and charity. (Anchor in the form of faith etc. ‘Anchor’ is identified with “faith’ etc.)
  • The tree of liberty only grows when watered by the blood of tyrants. (‘Tree’ in the form of ‘liberty’; ‘water’ in the form of  ‘blood’.) 

3. Expressed through a verb:

  • The ship ploughs the sea.
  • Remorse gnawed at his heart.
  • Do not ape the manners of the rich.
  • Our country is being drained of its resources.

4.A whole sentence: Sometimes a whole sentence is metaphricallyy used to fit in a particular situation. If a man, for example , goes on changing his jobs, we merely tell him, “Well, sir, A rolling stone gathers no moss“.


  • He is sowing wild oats.
  • The cat was out of the bag.
  • He hit the nail on the head.
  •  Make hay while the sun shines.

These are all examples of Metaphor.

5.Expressed in a phrase ( where the objects of identity are not clearly expressed):

Through nouns:

  • At last there is a ray of hope.
  • He laid down the reigns of his office.
  • They spread the light of knowledge.
  • There is not a shade of doubt in it.

Through adjectives:

  • He had a fiery temper.
  • There was a stormy discussion in the meeting.
  • She has a rosy complexion.
  • He has a stony heart.


Figure of Speech – Simile


A simile is a figure of speech that explicitly compares two unlike objects or persons. It uses words ‘like’, ‘as’ to bring out the comparison. Similes are used to make descriptions more emphatic or vivid, e.g.

  • Her eyes are like pearls. (pure and beautiful) (Clear comparison between ‘eyes’ and ‘pearls’ with the help of the word ‘like’).
  • She eats like a bird. (eats very little)
  • They fought like cats and dogs. (fought fiercely)
  • He works like a dog. (works very hard)
  • He is as strong as a lion. (very strong)
  • She walks as softly and gracefully as a cat. (walks without making any noise)
  • The old man is as blind as a bat. (completely blind)