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Implied Comparison


Submitted by: Bob Leslie


(Taken from the book Write Now! - by Anne Wescott Dodd – book is out of print)


Unlike expressed comparisons, implied or indirect comparisons are not introduced by the words like or as.  Implied comparisons can be made by connecting two unlike objects by their common quality. Such statements are meant comparatively, not literally.  For example, “John is a clown” does not mean that John dresses in baggy pants and has his face painted.  Rather, John’s actions draw the laughter of other people, so he brings to mind a circus clown.  Many implied comparisons are tired and worn-out through overuse.  If they are not trite, however, they can be very effective.

Write an implied comparison for each of the following.

Example:  Old age is a summer evening.


1.      a building

2.      motherhood

3.      an elephant

4.      authority

5.      a snowflake

6.      a traffic light

7.      a tree

8.      a graveyard

9.      a subway tunnel

10.     a bicycle


An implied or indirect comparison is usually called a metaphor.  Use metaphors to create poems and prose that are fresh and alive.  At this point you may wish to look back at the metaphors you wrote in 'Abstract and Concrete'.  Can you improve any of these metaphors now?