My friend thinks the phrase "I am a fast tiger" is a metaphor, is he correct? He also reffered to something that was not a hard rock as "a hard rock", does that also count as a metaphor? Thanks in advance.

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    Depends. Is your friend actually a large, orangey feline with big-ass teeth and razor-sharp claws? If he is, I'd be more worried about upsetting him by arguing over metaphors than about being right about metaphors. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 17 '16 at 21:06
  • That's an amazing response XD – Sigismund Sep 17 '16 at 21:07
  • Basically, a metaphor is a metaphor if you think it is. "I am a fast tiger" is not a common idiom in the US (though "fast as a tiger" is). – Hot Licks Sep 17 '16 at 22:40

Yes, "I am a fast tiger" is a metaphor, as is "it is a hard rock", because it is a non-literal comparison (i.e. your friend is not literally a fast tiger) not using "like", "as", or some other word to explicitly indicate that it's not literal.

If your friend had said "I am like a fast tiger", that would be a simile, because it uses "like" to indicate that it's not a literal comparison.

Just because a statement uses "like" or "as", though, doesn't mean it's a metaphor or a simile, if I'm not mistaken. Statements such as "I am fast like a tiger" or "I am as fast as a tiger" could be either metaphor or simile, depending on the intent - is he actually saying that he can physically move quickly, or using it in some other sense such as quick thinking?

  • Your answer provides insight into this as well as a different issue, that is, what exactly the difference between a metaphor and a simile is. His intent was that he was fast, like a tiger, and he insisted that it was a metaphor because it didn't use the words "like" or "as". But you pointed out that the difference is actually in literal and implied meanings, which is very useful. Thank you! – Sigismund Sep 19 '16 at 16:51

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