What's a meta for? Sorry; bad joke. These sheets introduce your students to the metaphor.

Metaphors and similes both act as "shortcut" comparisons, but metaphors are indirect. Metaphors are the heart and soul of poetry, literature, and art. The following collection of activity sheets will teach your students how to identify and interpret metaphors. Activities include rewriting prompts as metaphors, defining metaphors, identifying comparisons, transforming similes into metaphors, and more. Answer keys have been provided for instructors, but note that in some cases, student answers will vary.

Fun Activity: While authors and speakers should try to avoid mixing metaphors, they can be fun. Have your students try to come up with good ones, such as "We'll burn that bridge when we come to it."

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The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Understanding Metaphors

The metaphors in each picture below are very similar. Study the picture and read the sentence. Using what is happening in the picture as a clue, explain each metaphor.


A metaphor is a kind of figurative language that is a direct comparison between two unlike things. You can tell the difference because a simile uses the words "like" or "as." Metaphors are often constructed using the verb "to be."

To Compare Things

Underline the metaphor in each sentence below. Then identify the two things that are being compared.

The Simile

A simile is a figure of speech that compares two things that are not normally alike. A simile always uses the words like or as to make the comparison.

Understanding Similes

Examples: My mother is as pliable as a marshmallow. The dog was as fierce as a wolf.

How About It?

Circle the simile in each sentence. On the lines, fill in what two things are being compared.

Crafting Originals

Practice writing similes by thinking of new comparisons for each adjective. Also complete each sentence by thinking of similes for the verbs.

Sentences the Pop!

You can uses similes to make your writing more interesting. In this exercise, replace the simple adjective in each sentence with a simile.

Writing Metaphors

Rewrite each sentence and create your own awesome meaning.

Recognizing and Using Metaphors

Underline the metaphor in each sentence. Create your own way to express each of the thoughts below it.

Location, Location

Read the passage. Underline all of the metaphors that you find.

The Poem as Metaphor

In fact, a poem itself can be a metaphor. Read the poem. Then answer the questions below.

Is That One?

See how far you have gotten with this skill.

Chop It Up!

Identify the two things that are being compared, then explain the metaphor.


Fill in a word to complete each simile.

Verbs + Adjectives

Using the patterns shown above, say that someone some physical or mental quality.

Describe Yourself

How do you feel? How do you look? How do you act?

The Sun

Read the poem aloud. Answer the questions.

The Power

A quick example is a little like that old saying: a picture is worth a thousand words.

Love is...

How many metaphors can you create about love? Fill in the blanks. Then trade papers with a classmate.

Write em' Up

Piece all of that together: cotton candy, army, trophy, music, worm, cloud, chain, garden, fruit, map

Like or As a Subject

Write a simile about each subject. Remember to use the words like or as.