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Metaphor and Simile
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I was discussing a proposed experiment in a lab meeting the other day, and the topic of whether or not people prefer metaphor over simile came up. The general consensus was that adults tended to prefer metaphors, while children and people with some types of disorders (e.g. autism) prefered similes.

It was suggested that most writers prefer metaphor to simile. I really hadn't thought about it much, but didn't think it sounded right. They both seem to be tools, differing mostly in degree.

The man was a wolf.
The man was like a wolf.

I guess similes can appear more conventional, and so they might seem more cliched to an experienced reader or writer. But it seems to me that neither is inherently better than the other or should necessarily be preferred. I know some writer types read this blog. Do you have a preference?

Do you have examples of very good writers using simile? (I suggested that great writers use simile, and was called on to come up with examples, and didn't have any at my fingertips).

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