Asked • 08/04/19

Is using an 'empty' metaphor considered bad style?

I just had this sentence off my head:> A crown of fire spread through the country consuming everything on its> way.What I mean by empty metaphor is a metaphor that doesn't really have any meaning or even purpose. The same sentence could be replaced with the following:> A circle of fire spread through the country consuming everything on> its way.Also, I don't even think crown would make sense even if the "fire" was spread by an evil king. What do you think?

Abby K.

It does have a purpose here: it creates a picture in the reader's mind. That's what metaphors do: they offer a description to help the reader imagine or understand something he or she has never encountered in real life. If a "crown of fire" is how you want the scene to look in your reader's mind, go for it. If that's not how it looks in your mind, use something else. Kings have nothing to do with it; it's not intended to be taken literally.


1 Expert Answer


Samuel P. answered • 08/07/19

Masters student in English and former teacher

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