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Research in Language

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Volume 11, Issue 3


Ewa Wałaszewska
Published Online: 2014-02-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10015-012-0015-7


The paper examines the meaning of like as used in similes in the light of relevance theory. Similes, even though superficially indistinguishable from literal comparisons, are found to be closer to metaphors. Therefore, it is proposed that like in similes is different from like employed in literal comparisons. In particular, it is claimed that, contrary to the current relevance-theoretic position on this issue, like in similes introduces an ad hoc concept. This like is seen as both conceptual and procedural and, as such, it is distinct from both the conceptual like used in literal comparisons and the procedural like functioning as a pragmatic marker. Such a solution accounts for the similarities and differences between similes, metaphors and literal comparisons.


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About the article

Ewa Wałaszewska

Ewa Wałaszewska is Assistant Professor at the Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw. Her principal interests lie within the fields of semantics and pragmatics, including relevance theory, its applications to the study of particular linguistic phenomena as well as its theoretical implications for the investigation of human communication and cognition. She has published internationally with Cambridge Scholars Publishing and Journal of Pragmatics.

Published Online: 2014-02-13

Published in Print: 2013-09-01

Citation Information: Research in Language, Volume 11, Issue 3, Pages 323–334, ISSN (Online) 2083-4616, ISSN (Print) 1731-7533, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10015-012-0015-7.

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