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Bricks in the Sky

A listener in Ellsworth, Michigan, shares a favorite simile from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t. This is part of a complete episode.

Mustard On It

When does a word’s past make it too sensitive to use in the present? In contra dancing, there’s a particular move that dancers traditionally call a gypsy. But there’s a growing recognition that many people find the term gypsy...

Old Similes

A simile is a rhetorical device that describes by comparing two different things or ideas using the word like or as. But what makes a good simile? The 1910 book Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases, by Yale public-speaking instructor Grenville Kleiser...

More Old Similes

Some of the more successful similes in Grenville Kleiser’s 1910 book Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases include the sky was like a peach and like footsteps on wool and quaking and quivering like a short-haired puppy after a ducking. This is part...

Language Without Metaphors

Would you rather write in a language with no punctuation or without the use of similes or metaphors? Grant and Martha agree that texting has proven our ability to get a point across without periods or commas. On the other hand, sometimes an idea...

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