To give some idea of what it could mean for a concept to be metaphorical and for such a concept to structure an everyday activity, let us start with the concept argument and the conceptual metaphor argument is war. This metaphor is reflected in our everyday language by a wide variety of expressions:
We don’t just talk about arguments in terms of war. We can actually win or lose arguments. We see the person we are arguing with as an opponent … Many of the things we do in arguing are partially structured by the concept of war.
Now, try to imagine a culture where arguments are not viewed in terms of war: where there is no sense of attacking or defending, gaining or losing ground. Imagine a culture where an argument is viewed as a dance, the participants are seen as performers, and the goal is to perform in a balanced and aesthetically pleasing way. People would view arguments differently, experience them differently, carry them out differently, and talk about them differently.