What Is an Analogy? Analogy Meaning and Examples

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You may be wondering what an analogy is. While the concept is long gone from the SAT test, analogies are still used a great deal in everyday life. We’ll explore what an analogy is and give you some examples in this article.

What Is an Analogy?

An analogy is a comparison of two things in which one idea or concept is compared to something entirely different. While the two things might be totally different, the analogy compels the readers to realize their association. Sometimes, the analogy provides a comparison between two similar things, one of which might be hidden. The analogy gives a reader a way to understand the hidden thing by picturing the more common thing.   

The word analogy comes from the Greek word analogia. The word is made of the prefix ana and suffix logos. Ana means “again,” “upon,” or “back,” while the word logia means “speech,” “word,” or “ratio.” Together the word means something similar to “proportion.” 

According to Merriam-Webster, an analogy is a comparison of two unlike things based on the resemblance of a particular aspect.  See the following example.

Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you are going to get.

Forrest Gump

In this post, we will learn about different types of analogy and their examples. So, without delay let’s get started.

What Are The Types of Analogy?

The following literary devices qualify as analogies. Let’s learn about them one-by-one.

Metaphor

A metaphor is a figure of speech that makes an implied or hidden comparison between two things which are not related, but share common characteristics. For example, “He is the black sheep of the family,

Here the black sheep phrase is used to indicate a person who is considered worthless by other people in that family. However, it does not mean the person is actually black or sheep.

A metaphor compares two subjects without using words such as “as,” “like,” etc. Since metaphors declare one thing is another, they are regarded as an intense form of an analogy.

Simile

Like a metaphor, this analogy also creates a comparison between two things. However, it uses connecting words such as “as” or “like.” While it’s not as strong as a metaphor, it still needs the reader to understand the similarity between two things and make a new cognitive link.

Your voice is as sweet as sugar.

Parable 

A parable is generally a fictitious short story that illustrates an educational lesson or principal. Some of the popular fables that are parables include:

  • The Fox and The Crow – Aesop 
  • The Lion and the Mouse – Aesop
  • The Tortoise and the Hare – Aesop

Allegory

Like a parable, allegory is also a story in which characters act as symbols. These symbols can be interpreted to explain a moral truth or a historical situation.

Animal Farm by George Orwell is a perfect example of Allegory.

Exemplification

Exemplification uses various examples to add more information to a general idea. It is a relationship between a sample and what that sample refers to.

Examples of Analogies in Everyday Use

  • Time is money, so spend it wisely.
  • His brother is sly like a fox.
  • She is as busy as a bee nowadays.
  • She is as light as a feather.
  • Socks are just the gloves of the feet.
  • She found it under a blanket of sand.
  • There is a garden on his face.
  • The new parents have stars in their eyes. 
  • He is living in a bubble.
  • Finding the right person is like finding a needle in a haystack.
  • My father is my rock in hard times.
  • Talking to her is like talking to a brick wall.
  • Last night I slept the sleep of the dead.
  • I would be pleased to meet your better half.
  • My brother is as strong as an ox.
  • He was as quiet as a church mouse.
  • Always see the problem as a speed bump, not a roadblock.

Analogies in Literature

The analogy has a significant role in literature. Authors use it to make a comparison between similar or dissimilar things, to help readers imagine places and characters, and to suggest a more profound significance. Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato also fostered analogy in literature, calling it a shared abstraction. Check out some classic examples of analogies in literature.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare 

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

by any other word would smell as sweet.

So Romeo would were he not Romeo called.”

In the above lines of the play, you can notice Shakespeare used the analogy to equate Romeo to a rose’s sweetness.

The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen

 “Memory is to love what the saucer is to the cup.”

Bowen’s novel The House in Paris also uses analogy smartly in various places. For example, in the above phrase, the writer used the analogy to compare a cup and saucer’s relationship with love and memory. 

Macbeth by William Shakespeare 

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

that struts and frets his hour upon the stage.” 

In Act 5 of his tragic play Macbeth, William Shakespeare used the analogy to compare life to a passing shadow.

Let Me Count the Ways by Peter De Vries

“If you want my final opinion on the mystery of life and all that, I can give it to you in a nutshell. The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination.”

In the above example of analogy, Vries compares the universe to a safe which can’t be unlocked.

Examples of Word Analogies

Analogies play an essential role in writing to explain something important by comparing two different things that have some common traits. However, in verbal and word analogies, they are more like logic puzzles. The word or verbal analogies also compare two different things, but they do so by breaking them into parts to notice how they are related

See the following example of word analogy.

Moon :night :: sun :day

 When you read the above analogy aloud, it says the moon is to night as the sun is to day.

Let’s have a look at some more word analogies.

  • Pencil :write :: scissors :cut
  • Apple :fruit :: carrot :vegetable
  • Football: field :: tennis :court
  • Hot :oven :: cold refrigerator
  • Cow :mammal :: snake :reptile
  • Turtle :crawl ::frog :hop
  • Bow :arrow ::bat :ball
  • Raft :river ::ski :snow
  • Pretty :ugly :: smile: frown
  • Bedroom :sleeping :: Kitchen :cooking
  • Football :field :: tennis :court.

Analogies used to be a section in the SAT exam, but they were removed in 2005 since these questions were criticized for being irrelevant to success in a college or work environment.

So these are some examples of analogies. We hope they improve your understanding of an analogy.


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