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Tuesday with Tolstoy’s fables (and similes)

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The English language has more than its fair share of descriptive and enjoyable similes. They come in all shapes and sizes!

You might know that in a simile, two things are directly compared to one another because they share a common feature. The word as or like is used to link the two words:

As cold as ice = very cold
As cool as a cucumber = cool
As blind as a bat = completely blind
As smooth as silk = very smooth
Like a fish out of water = to feel awkward or uncomfortable because you are not familiar with a situation or because you are different from the people around you.

The Blind Man and the Milk

Did you know that one of the world’s most famous novelists, Leo Tolstoy, had also written a fantastic collection of short stories, tales and fables for children?

'The Blind Man and the Milk' is one of my favourites. Read it and take a good look at all those original similes.

A man born blind asked a seeing Man:"What colour is milk?"The seeing man said: "The colour of milk is the same as that of white paper."The blind man asked: "Well, does that colour rustle in your hands like paper?"The seeing man said: "No, it is as white as white flour."
The blind man asked: "Well, is it as soft and as powdery as flour?"
The Seeing Man said: "No, it is simply as white as a white hare."The blind man asked: "Well, is it as fluffy and soft as a hare?"
The seeing man said: "No, it is as white as snow."The blind man asked: "Well, is it as cold as snow?"
And no matter how many examples the seeing man gave, the blind man was unable to understand what the white colour of milk was like. 


Remember: while it is important to know the standard similes, don’t hold back from creating your own when you’re describing something to someone. Make sure you’re as clear as possible!

Lesson by Krista

Choose the correct simile:

  • 1. Mark and Lucy are twins. They are ___

  • 2. That fire-fighter was just fearless! He’s ___

  • 3. Emily slept for 11 hours last night. No wonder she’s feeling ___ this morning!

  • 4. Today’s lesson wasn’t difficult at all. Most of us thought it was ___.

  • 5. Chris and Dan skipped breakfast today. They were ___ by noon!

  • 6. Sharon lost 10 kilos. She’s ___ now!

  • 7. I love her hair. It is long, black and ___.

  • 8. Are you ill? Your face is ___!