Analogy – an extended comparison between something unfamiliar and something more familiar for the purpose of illuminating or dramatizing the unfamiliar.  An analogy might, say, compare nuclear fission (less familiar) to a pool player’s opening break (more familiar).

OR, another way to describe what an analogy is:

Analogy - To be able to see connections between words is a crucial critical thinking skill. An "analogy" is a comparison between two different things in order to highlight some point of similarity...

It expresses a relationship. Usually it is a set of like relationships among two sets of terms. An easy example would be: "big is to large as fast is to quick," or "no rain is to drought as low wages is to strike."

Common relationships used in analogies are synonyms, antonyms, examples, part to a whole, grammatial structure, cause and effect, sequences, and an object to a user or to its use.

The analogy does not claim total identification, which is the property of the metaphor. It claims a similarity of relationships."

Compare two things that are usually thought to be different from each other. The similarity between the two is what is used, or called when describing the analogy.

Types of Analogies include:

  • Synonym (happy : joyful :: sad : depressed)
  • Antonym (inflation : deflation :: frail : strong)
  • Characteristic (tropical : hot :: polar : cold)
  • Part/Whole (finger : hand :: petal : flower)
  • Degree (mist : fog :: drizzle : tropical storm)
  • Type (golden retriever : dog :: salmon : fish)
  • Tool/Worker (pen : writer :: voice : singer)
  • Action/Object (fly : airplane :: drive : car)
  • Item/Purpose (knife : cut :: ruler : measure)
  • Product/Worker (poet : poem :: baker : pie)

Different types of analogies are introduced at different levels. Elementary school analogies may be simple, possibly funny analogies; whereas middle school analogies may focus more on analogical reasoning. Analogies practiced in high school delve even more deeply into analogical problem solving. By college, most people know an analogy when they see one.

D.Mulder --- darlamuse.com -- JUST READ IT! --- contact darla at darlamuse@earthlink.net

D.MAKEN --- dmaken@earthlink.net

G. HEWSON --- Dr. Grant Hewson at granthewson@earthlink.net


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