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Metaphor vs. Personification: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on January 9, 2024
Metaphor is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things without using "like" or "as." Personification is giving human characteristics to non-human entities.

Key Differences

A metaphor is a literary device that directly compares two unrelated subjects, suggesting a resemblance. Personification, on the other hand, assigns human traits to inanimate objects or abstract concepts.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 09, 2024
Metaphors create symbolic meanings, while personification aims to evoke empathy or understanding by humanizing non-human elements. Metaphors are often abstract, whereas personification relies on concrete human qualities.
Huma Saeed
Jan 09, 2024
Metaphors are versatile, found in various forms of writing, to imply similarity between different things. Personification specifically animates the non-living, adding depth and emotion to otherwise mundane descriptions.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 09, 2024
Both metaphor and personification enrich language, but a metaphor is more about conceptual comparison, whereas personification focuses on bringing life to the lifeless.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 09, 2024
The use of metaphor can be subtle or direct, creating layered meanings. Personification, by contrast, is more straightforward, attributing human behavior to non-human entities.
Janet White
Jan 09, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Comparison between two unlike things
Assigning human qualities to non-human entities
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 09, 2024

Usage

Abstract conceptual similarity
Humanizing objects or concepts
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 09, 2024

Purpose

To create symbolic meaning
To evoke empathy or understanding
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 09, 2024

Example

"Time is a thief"
"The wind whispered through the trees"
Aimie Carlson
Jan 09, 2024

Literary Effect

Creates deeper understanding or surprise
Makes descriptions lively and relatable
Janet White
Jan 09, 2024
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Metaphor and Personification Definitions

Metaphor

Metaphor is a symbolic representation of one thing by another.
His words were a double-edged sword.
Harlon Moss
Dec 18, 2023

Personification

Personification gives human qualities to non-human things.
The leaves danced in the wind.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 18, 2023

Metaphor

A metaphor equates two different things as if they are the same.
The world is a stage.
Janet White
Dec 18, 2023

Personification

Personification embodies abstract concepts with human traits.
Justice stood tall and firm.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 18, 2023

Metaphor

Metaphor often personifies abstract concepts.
Hope is an anchor for the soul.
Harlon Moss
Dec 18, 2023

Personification

Personification makes inanimate objects behave like people.
The clock glared at me, ticking loudly.
Janet White
Dec 18, 2023

Metaphor

Metaphor implies resemblance without using "like" or "as."
Her eyes were stars, shining in the dark.
Janet White
Dec 18, 2023

Personification

Personification involves attributing human emotions to nature.
The sun smiled down on us.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 18, 2023

Metaphor

A metaphor suggests hidden similarities.
Silence is a blank canvas.
Huma Saeed
Dec 18, 2023

Personification

Personification is the humanization of the non-human.
Fear crept up on me.
Janet White
Dec 18, 2023

Metaphor

A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in "a sea of troubles" or "All the world's a stage" (Shakespeare).
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Personification

The act of personifying.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Metaphor

One thing conceived as representing another; a symbol
"Hollywood has always been an irresistible, prefabricated metaphor for the crass, the materialistic, the shallow, and the craven" (Neal Gabler).
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Personification

A person or thing typifying a certain quality or idea; an embodiment or exemplification
"He's invisible, a walking personification of the Negative" (Ralph Ellison).
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Metaphor

The use of a word or phrase to refer to something other than its literal meaning, invoking an implicit similarity between the thing described and what is denoted by the word or phrase.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Personification

A figure of speech in which inanimate objects or abstractions are endowed with human qualities or are represented as possessing human form, as in Hunger sat shivering on the road or Flowers danced about the lawn. Also called prosopopeia.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Metaphor

A word or phrase used in such implied comparison.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Personification

Artistic representation of an abstract quality or idea as a person.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Metaphor

The use of an everyday object or concept to represent an underlying facet of the computer and thus aid users in performing tasks.
Desktop metaphor; wastebasket metaphor
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Personification

A person, thing or name typifying a certain quality or idea; an embodiment or exemplification.
Adolf Hitler was the personification of anti-Semitism.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Metaphor

(intransitive) To use a metaphor.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Personification

A literary device in which an inanimate object or an idea is given human qualities.
The writer used personification to convey her ideas.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Metaphor

(transitive) To describe by means of a metaphor.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Personification

An artistic representation of an abstract quality as a human
The Grim Reaper is a personification of death.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Metaphor

The transference of the relation between one set of objects to another set for the purpose of brief explanation; a compressed simile; e. g., the ship plows the sea.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Personification

The act of personifying; impersonation; embodiment.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Metaphor

A figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Personification

A figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstract idea is represented as animated, or endowed with personality; prosopop ia; as, the floods clap their hands.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Personification

A person who represents an abstract quality;
She is the personification of optimism
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Personification

Representing an abstract quality or idea as a person or creature
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

Personification

The act of attributing human characteristics to abstract ideas etc.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 17, 2023

FAQs

What's the purpose of personification?

To make descriptions more vivid and relatable.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 09, 2024

What is a metaphor?

A comparison between two unlike things, suggesting they are similar.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 09, 2024

Can personification be used in non-fiction?

Yes, for illustrative purposes.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 09, 2024

Can inanimate objects be the subject of personification?

Absolutely, that's a common use of personification.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 09, 2024

Are metaphors always obvious?

No, some are subtle and require interpretation.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 09, 2024

How do metaphors enhance language?

They add depth and complexity to expressions.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 09, 2024

Is a metaphor a lie?

No, it's a figurative way of expressing a truth.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 09, 2024

Why use personification in poetry?

To evoke emotions and paint vivid images.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 09, 2024

What is personification?

Giving human characteristics to non-human things.
Huma Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Can metaphors and personifications be used together?

Yes, they can be combined for creative expression.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 09, 2024

Are metaphors culturally specific?

Some metaphors may have cultural nuances.
Janet White
Jan 09, 2024

Do metaphors have to be logical?

Not necessarily, they often work on an intuitive level.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 09, 2024

What makes personification effective in storytelling?

It adds character and relatability to non-human elements.
Harlon Moss
Jan 09, 2024

Can metaphors be mixed?

Yes, though it can lead to confusing imagery.
Harlon Moss
Jan 09, 2024

Can animals be personified?

Yes, animals are often given human characteristics.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 09, 2024

Can metaphors be visual?

Yes, visual metaphors are common in art and advertising.
Janet White
Jan 09, 2024

Are there different types of personification?

Yes, ranging from simple to complex human attributes.
Harlon Moss
Jan 09, 2024

How does personification affect the reader?

It engages the reader's imagination and empathy.
Janet White
Jan 09, 2024

What's the difference between metaphor and simile?

Similes use "like" or "as" for comparison; metaphors do not.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 09, 2024

Is it possible to overuse metaphors?

Yes, overuse can make writing confusing or pretentious.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 09, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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