Similes and Metaphors in Pop Culture

We have been looking at similes and metaphors as part of our study of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Last week we looked at figurative language used in songs. This short video is good for revising some of the terms we studied.



“Sometimes you get a glimpse of a semicolon coming, a few lines farther on, and it is like climbing a steep path through woods and seeing a wooden bench just at a bend in the road ahead, a place where you can expect to sit for a moment, catching your breath.”

— Lewis Thomas, “Notes on Punctuation,”

The Medusa and the Snail 1979 —

For those who have asked. The following comes from here.


The punctuation mark used to indicate a major division in a sentence where a more distinct separation is felt between clauses or items on a list than is indicated by a comma, as between two clauses of a compound sentence.

Use the semicolon to link independent clauses not joined by a coordinating conjunction. Semicolons should join only those independent clauses that are closely related in meaning.

Abdominal exercises help prevent back pain; proper posture is also important.

The auditors made six recommendations; however, only one has been adopted so far.

Do not use a semicolon to link a dependent clause or a phrase to an independent clause.

[WRONG] Although gaining and maintaining a high level of physical fitness takes a good deal of time; the effort pays off in the long run.

[RIGHT] Although gaining and maintaining a high level of physical fitness takes a good deal of time, the effort pays off in the long run.

Generally, you should not place a semicolon before a coordinating conjunction that links two independent clauses. The only exception to this guideline is if the two independent clauses are very long and already contain a number of commas.

[WRONG] The economy has been sluggish for four years now; but some signs of improvement are finally beginning to show.

[RIGHT] The economy has been sluggish for four years now, but some signs of improvement are finally beginning to show.

It may be useful to remember that, for the most part, you should use a semicolon only where you could also use a period.

There is one exception to this guideline. When punctuating a list or series of elements in which one or more of the elements contains an internal comma, you should use semicolons instead of commas to separate the elements from one another:

Henry’s mother believes three things: that every situation, no matter how grim, will be happily resolved; that no one knows more about human nature than she; and that Henry, who is thirty-five years old, will never be able to do his own laundry.

— HyperGrammar, Faculty of Arts, University of Ottawa —

Put semicolons outside closing quotation marks.

Williams described the experiment as “a definitive step forward”; other scientists disagreed.

— Owl On-Line Writing Lab —

Semicolons with the word “however”:

Using “however” as a conjunctive adverb: “However” can be used to join two simple sentences to make a compound sentence. “However” indicates the relationship between the two independent clauses is one of contrast or opposition. Use a semicolon before and a comma after “however” when you are using it to write a compound sentence.

The engineers claimed that the bridge was safe; however, they were still not prepared to risk crossing.

— University of New England —

Glossary of Poetic Terms

The Poetry Archive has a useful Glossary of Poetic Terms. You can use this glossary to check how to pronounce a word or phrase, find out what it means and learn how to use it in a sentence. You can explore some of the ways in which poets use language, the choices they make and the effects those choices create. There are examples to read and listen to, in poems specially chosen from the Poetry Archive. It is a great site to check out if you are in a 202 class and revising for Unfamiliar Texts.

What is figurative language?

Figurative language is essential in certain types of writing to help convey meaning and expression. Figurative language is often necessary to convey the exact meaning in a vivid and artistic manner. If the writer does not create an image in the readers mind, he or she may lose the reader’s attention and holding the attention of the reader is the writer’s goal.

Language using figures of speech such as simile, hyperbole, metaphor, symbolism and personification to form imagery is figurative language. It is used to:

  • increase shock,
  • for novelty,
  • appearance,
  • give illustrative consequences.

Examples of figurative language:

  • A simile is a comparison between two objects using the words “like” or “as.” “Her eyes are like stars!”
  • A hyperbole is a very strong exaggeration. “Her smile is as wide as the ocean!”
  • A metaphor is the comparison between two objects. “His eyes are jewels!”
  • Personification gives an inhuman thing human quality. “The diamonds are jealous of your beauty!”
  • Image is the representation sense. Words, which appeal the senses such as a visual image, could be called a mental picture. “Two trees converged in a velvet meadow.”
  • Symbol is a specific idea or object to represent ideas, values, or ways of life. A symbol is usually something more than what it seems. “The path not seen.”
  • A paradox is a contradiction, which in reality is true. “Where ignorance is joy, it is foolishness to be wise.”
  • Tone is the attitude of style or expression used to write
  • Mood is the emotion the writing delivers to the reader.
  • Alliteration is the repetition of the initial consonant consecutively or within a couple words of each other. “The tiny tot told two tales that totally twisted the truth.” “Two tales were told that spoke silently of the truth of the matter.”
  • Allusion is pointing to something from literature or history to express your point. The word allusion is used to describe this figurative form of language because it is generally a brief, incidental or casual reference. Allusion is never a detailed lengthy description. Allusion is used in hopes of triggering an association to portray a meaning. “He’s a real little Hitler!”

It is the author’s plan to create with words imagery that will cause the reader to smell, hear, taste and feel the story as it is read. Figurative language can make its point without the tedious use of long drawn out sentences. The use of similes and metaphors in writing helps to bring it to life.