Similes, Metaphors, and Friends

So, we all know about nouns, verbs, and pronouns. But do your kids know about similes, metaphors, and idioms?

Well, get ready to teach these fun writing tricks with easy, FREE anchor charts!


This is when an author compares two normally unrelated things using “like” or “as.”

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When you are reading, you should be on the lookout for sentences that compare things that are not normally put together.

Find the two things that are being compared and think about what they mean.

  • a lunchroom is where you eat lunch
  • a circus is where clowns, acrobats, and animals perform tricks

Next, think about WHY the author is comparing these two things. Think:

  • A circus usually has many things going on at once and can be chaotic. If the lunchroom is like a circus, it must mean that it is also chaotic or crazy.


Metaphors also compare two very different things. But they do this WITHOUT using “like” or “as.”

This gives one person, place, or thing that traits of the other person, place, or thing. It is important to make sure, especially when working with young students or children who are just learning English, that everyone understands that one thing does not actually become the other thing.

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The lunchroom isn’t really a circus, it just seems like one because it is so crazy!


These are figures of speech that are commonly used. The words don’t mean what they say. For example: “it’s raining cats and dogs.” Cats and dogs aren’t really falling from the sky. This means that it is rainy really heavily or a lot.

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Sometimes, they can be clichés, or words and phrases that are used commonly. But not all clichés are idioms, and not all idioms are clichés.


When objects and animals are given human-like qualities, that is personification. Authors use this to help us connect with other non-human characters in books or allow us to picture the setting more clearly.

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How to Use in Writing

Our students are amazing writers. And you already knew that! But sometimes their writing could use a little punch, a little pizzazz, a thing something extra.

And that is where similes, metaphors, idioms, and personification come in.

Similes and metaphors help to create an image in your mind: something familiar paired with a known reference point that is different.

Idioms are just pure fun, and help to make a sometimes complex situation easy to understand. Idioms also spice up your writing. “It was raining hard” is boring. “It was raining cats and dogs” is fun, and creates a funny image for readers.

Personification allows objects and animals to participate in the story equally with humans or helps us to understand settings and non-human feelings more fully. Using personification deepens descriptions.

Ready to Teach?

Download your FREE poster set! It includes a definition of each writing technique, and a few examples.

Use these Free Printable Posters on your bulletin boards, literacy centers, or as anchor charts.


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