I'm a breaking wave, because I can't get away from the sea called the world.
I'm the breaking wave, because I can't get away from the sea called the world.

Which article is proper for metaphor?

The breaking wave means the wave that is breaking.
I know "breaker" would be better, but I've chosen "breaking wave" by intent.

There are a lot of people in the world. The world is like the sea and we are like its waves. Because we can't get away from the sea but break in the end and go back to the sea. So I'm just a wave.

And when I'd like to say "I want to get you who is like a star in the sky," which one is proper?
I want to get the star called you.
I want to get the star named you.
I want to get the star of you.
I want to get the star—you.

It's too hard for me to have you. So I can call you a star in the sky.
I want to get the star though it's impossible.

  • I suspect you're probably attempting to translate metaphoric usages which exist in your native language, but don't really work in English. The "breaking wave" one sounds weird to me even though the intended sense is specified in the text. And I've no idea what "star-like" quality you're trying to metaphorically allude to in the second example. Jul 24, 2013 at 18:25
  • You now have two different questions in one. For many of these cases, there is no right or wrong word or answer - it will depend on context and other matters.
    – TrevorD
    Jul 24, 2013 at 18:51
  • 2
    Articles are not proper or improper in metaphor. They are proper or improper in different idioms and grammatical constructions. Metaphor is not a grammatical construction, but a semantic one; all it does is license certain usages that are common to one frame (the sea) in the case of another (one's emotions). But that's enough. Jul 24, 2013 at 18:56
  • Thank you so much, it seems there's no right or wrong answer. I was just curious about which one I should use.
    – Klmo
    Jul 24, 2013 at 18:57
  • 1
    @ Krypt: Now you've added the intended meaning of your "star" metaphor, you might like to note that Google Books has far more instances of as unreachable as the moon than it does of as unreachable as a star. Not that creative writers need to copy other creative writers, but it's certainly worth knowing what references are more common. Jul 24, 2013 at 22:28

1 Answer 1


In poetic usage the author has quite some latitute. But unless you are referring to a specific wave which breakes, ‘a breaking wave’ works better.

In the second case, I would go for ‘I want to get a star — you’, but actually your ‘context’ paragraph is quite nice.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.