"Whenever people try to describe one thing by relating it to something else, they're engaging in metaphorical thinking," says Dr. Mardy Grothe, author of the book I Never Metaphor I Didn't Like.
Grothe's book is a celebration of metaphorical thinking, and for the purposes of the program, we asked Grothe to define two literary devices that are paramount in his book: metaphor and simile.
"A metaphor is when we say something is something else," Grothe explains. "To turn a metaphor into a simile, we just add words like like or as."
Drawing from his collection, Grothe provides several examples of metaphors and similes, quoting such writers as Truman Capote, Isaac Asimov, Rudyard Kiplingeven Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz.
A self-described word addict, Grothe says he collects quotations the way others collect coins, stamps or butterflies. Grothe asserts these colorful bits of language possess great practical value. "If you're trying to make a point, sometimes the worst thing you can do is offer your opinion," he says, "but if you've got a bunch of quotations that you can bring to the topic at hand, they can help you make some of the most important points that need to be made."
Listen to the interview to hear Grothe's explanations and examples of metaphor and simile and how they can be inspiring to speakers and writers.
Source: I Never Metaphor I Didn't Like: a comprehensive compilation of history's greatest analogies, metaphors and similes by Dr. Mardy Grothe.
Music from this episode: "What's Good (The Thesis)" by Lou Reed and "Funny Little Frog" by Belle & Sebastian.