Examples of metaphors include the concept of the “black sheep of the family” and the phrase “You are my sunshine.” A metaphor is a comparison between two things that share common characteristics. Metaphors differ from similes in that they do not use the words “like” or “as.”
Saying that someone is the “black sheep of the family” is not a literal description. It is a metaphor that compares a person’s behavior or reputation to that of a black sheep. Black sheep are unusual and often set themselves apart from the rest of the herd. Therefore, using the metaphor of the black sheep implies that the person described is set apart or different from the rest of the family in some way.
“You are my sunshine” is another common metaphor, making a comparison between the positive qualities of sunlight and the positive qualities of a person. Just as sunlight brings warmth and happiness, the person described in the metaphor also brings warmth and happiness.
Metaphors often draw comparisons between people and animals to highlight particular qualities. Saying that someone is a pig, for example, implies messiness, carelessness or crudeness. Describing someone as a shark may imply a vicious or predatory nature. Conversely, describing an individual as a puppy dog often implies sweetness and innocence.