A simile almost always uses the word like or as.
Example #1 – The moonlight danced on the snow like small diamonds.
Example #2 – He fought like a lion
Example #3 – As nutty as a fruitcake
Hint for remembering: Simile has the letter L in it, the word Like starts with an L. Similes use the word Like (or as, almost always).
Metaphors are descriptions of the actual object, by comparing the similarities, not the differences. In other words, they describe the object without comparing.
Example #1 – Moonlight diamonds danced on the snow. (See, we know they aren’t actually diamonds.)
Example #2 – He was a lion in the ring. (We aren’t talking about a lion, we are talking about a man. We know he isn’t actually a lion.)
Example #3 – She’s a fruitcake. (Obviously she is not actually a fruitcake)
Hint for remembering: Metaphor has the letter A in it. Metaphors are used to describe something that it ACTUALLY is not. ACTUALLY starts with an A.
Hope this little trick helps you