Nitty Gritty Grammar Lesson: Similes


Today in our Nitty Gritty Grammar Lesson we will be looking at one of the fun forms of figurative language-Similes! Before we go there, I’d like to share what a Nitty Gritty Grammar Lesson is. Google’s online dictionary defines “Nitty Gritty” this way:

  1. the most important aspects or practical details of a subject or situation.

“Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of similes!”

A simile describes the subject by using uses the words “like” or “as” to compare 2 different things which have one thing in common.

A common simile is, “It was as soft as a baby’s bottom.” Anyone who has ever had a baby knows there is nothing softer than their newborn skin; that’s why this is a popular comparison.

For example, one of my favorite similes is, “He cooked up a scheme that was about as crooked as a dog’s hind leg.”

  • The scheme was crooked.
  • A dog’s hind leg is crooked.

So we can compare the two, using a creative turn of phrase. Note that the “crooked” has 2 different meanings. The scheme is criminal (crooked), whereas the dog’s hind leg is literally bent in a crooked manner. It is this difference that makes the comparison humorous, yet effective.

A couple more simile examples:

  • She is as sweet as cotton candy.
  • They worked him like a slave.

One problem with similes

Some similes are overused and have become a cliche:

  • Pure as the driven snow.
  • Happy as a clam
  • slippery as an eel
  • Nutty as a fruitcake
  • Naked as a jaybird

There are so many more, but why repeat them when they are already so overused? Instead, make your writing fresher by coming up with more interesting comparisons.

Now for some fun…

Choose some of the following adjectives and turn them into an original, unique simile.

  • Anxious
  • Calm
  • Capable
  • Cheap
  • Clean
  • Cold
  • Cool
  • Depressed
  • Difficult
  • Drunk
  • Embarrassed
  • Famous
  • Guilty
  • Happy
  • Healthy
  • Hot
  • Illegal
  • Impressive
  • Inevitable
  • Intelligent
  • OddSimile of Yellow snow
  • Old
  • Poor
  • Popular
  • Pure
  • Rich
  • Scared
  • Tough
  • Ugly
  • Useless
  • Valuable
  • Weird
  • Yellow

What Are YOUR Thoughts?

Did you come up with any cool similes? I’d love to hear them in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather EricksonFacing Cancer as a Parent

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.

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2 comments on “Nitty Gritty Grammar Lesson: Similes

For some reason, the one thing I remember from 3rd grade is similies. I wonder why.

Hi Liz. Similes are a lot of fun, especially if you stay away from cliches.

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