Analogies are statements that compare or contrast ideas appear to have no relationships, but are actually related to each other. In other words, Analogies are related to ideas and things and the relationship throws light on the similarities and compares same things in order to clarify the ideas. The analogy also highlights relationships between the target and the source by providing further information on the two thoughts. Analogies are statements that compare and contrast ideas that apparently do not have any relationship, but if we look deeper they share some kind of relationships. To clarify the concept further, let us look at some examples, given below.
• Hand : glove :: foot : sock. In ordinary words, this analogy reads as Hand is to glove what a foot is to a sock. It does not appear to be clear, hand and glove and foot and sock have no relationships, but dig a little deeper and you will realize that a hand wears a glove while a foot wears the sock.
• Cold : hot :: wet : dry. Read this analogy as ‘cold is to hot as wet is to dry.’ Here the relationship is between opposites, cold is opposite of hot and wet is opposite of dry.
: Two symbols are used repeatedly in analogies.
a) Symbol of colon [:] is read in ordinary language as the words ‘is related to,’ and
b) The sign of double colon [:] which represents the words ‘in the same way that.’
Use of symbolism makes it easy to read analogies without using too many words.
Analogies not only play a decisive role as literary devices, but also help in the studies of subjects where comparisons and logical analysis play an important role, e.g. all branches of mathematics, social sciences, and scientific disciplines as well.
Let us look at some examples of analogies.
Look at the first picture, ‘Grandma : Grandpa :: Mom : ______.’ You are given four words, mother, married, husband and dad. This example shows the relationship angle and you need to choose a correct word that shows correct logical relations between Mom and the mystery word. Let us analyze, grandpa and grandma are married to each other, but their married status is not emphasized so the word married is scored off. The word mother is also not correct, it does not make any sense, so score that off as well. If we use the same logic husband is also not the right word, so that goes off as well. Now, we are left with the last word, ‘dad’, which is the correct choice. ‘Grandma : Grandpa :: Mom: dad,’ shows the correct relationship between the two pairs. Use the same reasoning and solve the other examples as well.
Types of Analogies
There are numerous types of analogies, some of them are described below:
: Synonyms are words that have similar meaning to the given word and the relationship is the similarity of meaning, e.g. huge : enormous
: Here words have exact opposite meaning; this type of analogy shows the relationship between opposites, e.g. smile : tears
• ‘Part to whole/Whole to Part’
: This category of analogy displays relationships between whole objects and their parts, e.g. The flap is a part of an envelope.
• ‘Category /Type’
: Under category and type analogy only one word or pair of words fits the type of category, e.g. a skiff is a kind of a boat.
: Action analogies are also called performer to relation analogy, and relates to the typical action done by the performer, e.g. surgeon : surgery.
: This analogy points out towards the actual function of one word that performs some action on the other word, e.g. Axe : cut
• ‘Cause and effect’
: As its name suggests word or pair of words cause the effect on the second pair or words, e.g. A dam stops flow of a river, dam : flow
• Degree / Intensity
: Under this category one word is more intense than the other, e.g. Whimper: cry, or chuckle: Laugh.
: This type of analogy shows the connection between the symbol and what it is representing. E.g. flag : country.