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Why We Practice Analogies Practice with analogies develops proficiency in logic.

To answer analogy questions correctly, you analyze two words and identify the relationship between them; then you identify another pair of words that has the same relationship. In addition, when you study analogies, you think about the precise meanings of words and fix these definitions in your memory. Finally, studying word analogies will help you to gain higher scores on national tests that include multiple-choice analogy questions. The new Scholastic Aptitude Test-I Verbal Reasoning Test, for example, includes analogy questions. Understanding Word Analogies A word analogy is a comparison between two pairs of words. Heres how word analogies are written. Example 1 FIND : LOCATE :: lose : misplace

The colon (:) stands for the phrase is related to. Heres how to read the relationships in FIND [is related to] LOCATE lose [is related to] misplace The double colon [::] between the two pairs of words stands for the phrase in the same way that. Heres how to read the complete analogy: FIND [is related to] LOCATE [in the same way that] lose [is related to] misplace Heres another way: FIND is to LOCATE as lose is to misplace. A properly constructed analogy, then, tells us that the relationship between the first pair of words is the same as the relationship between the second pair of words. In Example 1, find and locate are synonyms, just as lose and misplace are synonyms. Lets look at another example: Example 2 GIFT : JOY :: grief : tears

Whats the relationship here? A gift causes joy, just as grief causes tears. A cause-and-effect relationship links the two pairs of words in Example 2. To help you identify the relationship expressed in analogies, we have designed the chart on the following page. No chart, of course, could include all possible relationships between words, but these twelve relationships are frequently presented. You should familiarize yourself with these relationships.


DRY : ARID :: lost : mislaid KIND : CRUEL :: happy : sad CHAPTER : BOOK :: fender : automobile POEM : STANZAS :: play : acts

Dry is similar in meaning to arid, just as lost is similar in meaning to mislaid. Kind is the opposite of cruel, just as happy is the opposite of sad. A chapter is a part of a book, just as a fender is a part of an automobile. A poem is composed of stanzas, just as a play is composed of acts. Mirrors are characteristically smooth, just as sandpaper is characteristically rough. A polka may be classified as a dance, just as a frog may be classified as an amphibian. A cardinal is classified as a bird, just as an igloo is classified as a house. A gift can cause joy, just as rain can cause a flood. The function of a knife is to cut, just as the function of a shovel is to dig. A fish can be found in the sea, just as a moose can be found in a forest. Chuckle and laugh have similar meanings, but differ in degree in the same way that whimper and cry have similar meanings but differ in degree. A cashier works with cash, just as a plumber work with pipe. You expect an author to write, just as you expect a chef to cook. You boil an egg, just as you throw a ball. (In these items, the object always receives the action.)


Part and Whole

Characteristic Quality

MIRROR : SMOOTH :: sandpaper : rough POLKA : DANCE :: frog : amphibian BIRD : CARDINAL :: House : igloo


Cause and Effect

GIFT : JOY :: rain : flood KNIFE : CUT :: shovel : dig FISH : SEA :: moose : forest CHUCKLE : LAUGH :: whimper : cry




Performer and Related Object Performer and Related Action Action and Related Object

CASHIER : CASH :: plumber : pipe AUTHOR : WRITE :: Chef : cook BOIL : EGG :: throw : ball


Your job in solving multiple-choice analogy questions is to identify the relationship between the first two words and then to find the pair of words that has the most similar relationship. Here are four hints to help you: Hint #1. Eliminate choices that represent relationships that do not match the relationship between the capitalized words. Hint #2. Eliminate choices that have vague relationships. Remember, the original relationship will always be clear. So, too, will the answers relationship. Hint #3. Eliminate words pairs that express the same relationship as the capitalized pair, but appear in the opposite word order. Hint #4. If you cant determine the relationship between two words, try reading them backward. Remember that a cause-and-effect relationship, for example, exists whether the pair is written Cause : Effect or Effect : Cause. Heres a process that will help you with analogy questions: Answering Analogy Questions: A 33-Step Method 1. Identify the relationship between the capitalized pair of words. 2. Look for that relationship in the pairs of words in the answer choices. Eliminate those that do not have that relationship. 3. Choose the pair of words whose relationship and word order match those of the capitalized pair. Lets apply this pattern to a sample question in Example 3. Example 3 FISH : SEA :: (A) sun : star (B) hero : villain (C) moose : forest (D) rocket : astronaut (E) garage : car

1. Identify the relationship. Its location; a fish can be found in the sea. 2. Eliminate choices. Choice A has a relationship of classification; the sun is a star. Choice B has two opposites; hero is an antonym for villain. Choice D consists of a performer (astronaut) and a related object (rocket). None of these choices match. 3. Choose the correct answer. Choices C and E both have location relationship: A moose can be found in a forest, and a car can be found in a garage. But Choice E could only be correct if the words appeared in the opposite ordercar : garage. So Choice C must be correct. A FINAL WORD Analogies are easier to tackle if you approach them with flexibility. Allow yourself to discover the relationship between the first pair of words and to explore the relationships between the words in the answer choices. Keep in mind that some words can represent more than one part of speech and that most words have multiple meanings. Remember, these little verbal puzzles are a test of your ability to demonstrate flexibility as well as logic.