Friday, 16 October 2009

Lesson 5- Use the simple metaphor to help- Learn Jeremy Clarkson's only trick

Metaphor is a fundamental tool of the English language. Without it, meaning would suffer because we would be left with flat description not vivid pictures in words. A metaphor makes a link between previously unlinked things. This linking can add meaning, and depth to our understanding of the world.

When Mrs Thatcher, the UK's formidable first lady Prime Minister, was first called the "Iron Lady" many people laughed because the word "iron" is used metaphorically. To some iron represents fearlessness, to others heartlessness, for some it represented her principles and for others her lack of them. This metaphor stuck because it allowed people to say so much about their subject in a simple phrase. Well-worn examples of metaphor:
  • A trail of broken dreams
  • Someone or something falling at the first hurdle
  • Shareholders crying foul
  • Lloyds TSB gobbling up Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Heavy-handed asset strippers

Use simile too, she's metaphor's more direct sister and we know and love her as a natural part of our language, for simile is another version of metaphor. The difference though is that in a simile the comparison between two things is direct, and is often signified by the use of phrases like “like a” and “as if…” Common examples of similes include…

  • To follow like a lamb to the slaughter
  • To laugh like a drain
  • To look like grim death
  • To swear like a trooper

 With a bit of thought you can invent your own for great and memorable phrases, remember Jeremy Clarkson  has built his career out of this single skill.

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