Writing Tip #48: Use Analogy


Brian's Writing Tip #48: Analogy

People often confuse metaphor and simile with analogy. It’s understand-able because they are similar concepts involving comparison. The difference is that unlike metaphor and simile, an analogy isn’t a figure of speech. It’s a rational, often complex comparing of two concepts. An analogy might even include metaphors or similes in showing the relationship between the two things being compared. If I say a marriage is like a marathon, I am using a simile, but if I go on to explain several ways these two experiences are alike and the significance of these parallels, I am making an analogy. I’m not just using a trick of language – I’m shedding light on something unfamiliar by talking about its similarity to something familiar. Or I’m making a comparison that illustrates truth in a memorable way by tying together two ostensibly different things.


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About the Author

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. Margaret McCleskey
    Margaret McCleskey10-22-2014

    Brian, your comments on analogy brought back memories of teaching elements of literature . I appreciate your thoughtful articles. My understanding of analogy involved setting relationships
    Based on a form not unlike a “proportion” in math. Example: 2 is to 4 as 3is to ? Literary analogies
    Could be set up: cat is to feline as dog is to blank. These concepts were taught as “thinking skills”.I think the literary analogy was set up with a colon between the two words in relationship with “as”
    In between. The relationship of the first pair was determined so that the analogy could be completed
    making the other pair related in the same way. My examples are simple but I have seen complex
    examples on SAT exams. Please respond to me personally as I have not expressed myself
    as well as I would like. Thanks,MMc

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