How to Differentiate Between a Simile & an Allusion

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Allusion and similes are both common literary elements used to enhance the quality of a story. While statements of allusion may appear on the surface to mirror similes, they have different purposes. An allusion is simply a brief mention of a person, place or event. A simile is a statement comparing similar qualities between two different things.

Examples of Allusion and Similes

Describing a character as being "honest like Abe Lincoln" is an allusion used to emphasize the character's honesty by comparing him to a historical figure known for his honesty. "Like" and "as" are key words in a simile. "Her eyes glistened like the noon day sun" is a simile. It strengthens the point that the character has beautiful eyes by comparing them to the glistening sun.


About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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