See Strategies for Successful Writing, 5th ed., pp. 222-223, 271-272, 276-277.  



In logic, it is reasoning in which the relations or resemblances are inferred from others that are known or observed.  

Refers to things clearly unlike in kind, form, or appearance, and refers to similar properties, relations, behaviors, etc., in more than one aspect.

An EXTENDED METAPHOR may be seen as an extended comparison.                                     Next



In its simplest form, an analogy may be stated as a ratio. In the  example:  "A puppy is to a dog as a kitten is to a cat,"  the youth of the canine is compared to the youth of the feline.

Exercise 1Solving Analogy Problems

1. author : book :: composer : __________.    a. mother      b. grandparent         c. typewriter        d. symphony

2. hay : horse :: seed : ___________.             a. parakeet      b. plant         c. flower        d. cow

3. green : grass :: red : ___________.            a. football             b. strawberry                c. book           d. orange

4. train : rails :: automobile : _________.         a. tires          b. gasoline          c. highway          d. pistons

5. sap : tree :: blood : _________.               a. automobile         b. jungle          c.  turnip               d. donkey

6. ink : pen :: lead : _____________.     a. heavy            b. pencil            c. direct               d. paper

7. power : dominance :: weakness : __________.   a. poverty        b. sickness     c. submission     d. leadership

8. king : subjects :: coach : ___________  a. team       b. football         c. strategy          d. first-class

9. germ : disease :: disease : ___________.   a. health       b. virus       c. finger              d. death

10. thunderstorm : weather :: station wagon : ___________.  a. family   b. automobile     c. gas mileage    d. ambition













Exercise 2: Develop an analogy between:

1. an election and a hockey game,

2. a baby and a pickle,

3. a car and a monster.













Exercise 3: Create an analogy between:

1. a textbook and _______________,

2. a bank and __________________,

3. a politician and _______________.












Why Use an Analogy - To clarify or to illustrate.

To put intangible things or unfamiliar things in tangible or familiar form

Ro explain or clarify difficult concepts

For Example: 

In the following example, the process of learning is compared with a symphony orchestra. 

The words like or analogous to typically signal the start of an analogy.









After describing the first of the two topics in the comparison, the writer follows with an expression such as just so or similarly

 and then continues with the second part of the comparison.

    In closing, we might describe learning with an analogy to a well-orchestrated symphony, aimed to blend both familiar and new sounds.  A symphony is the complex interplay of composer, conductor, the repertoire of instruments, and the various dimensions of music.  Each instrument is used strategically to interact with other instruments towards a rich construction of themes progressing in phases, with some themes recurring and others driving the movement forward toward a conclusion or resolution.  Finally, each symphony stands alone in its meaning, yet has a relationship to the symphonies that came before and those that will come later.  Similarly, learning is a complex interaction of the learning, the instructional materials, the repertoire of available learning strategies, and the context, including the teacher.  The skilled learner approaches each task strategically toward the goal of constructing meaning.  Some strategies focus on understanding the incoming information, others strive to relate the meaning to earlier predictions, and still others work to integrate the new information with prior knowledge. 

(Beau Fly Jones, et al., Learning and Thinking.)













Exercise 4: Read and explain the following analogy.

Over-regulation benefits no one ... . Government cannot protect everybody from everything. 

There will be no bears in the woods. It is wiser to accept that fact and proceed with appropriate 

caution than to employ a scorched-earth regulatory policy which gets rid of the bears by getting 

rid of the woods and leaving everybody with a serious erosion problem.

(Thinking Process, p. 99) For answer, click HERE.











Be careful to avoid misleading implications. Analogies may not be used for proving a point but for clarifying or illustrating one, because no new facts are presented in an analogy.

Use analogies to clarify a point, a process, an abstraction, NOT to prove a point.  Because you are comparing unlike objects, analogies will invariably break down.


Non human primates, chimps and gorillas, care for young, clean and groom each other, 

defend themselves, and sometimes form a group to attack.  Why must the human primates 

go so much further with Medicare, child care, welfare, Social Security, and the like, to protect 

the weak?  Indeed, why do we even speak to each other when gorillas do not?

Here we have an example of an analogy which has been taken to its extreme.








Exercise 5:  Write an analogy in class.

Write a paragraph in which you continue the comparison suggested by one of the following topic sentences.  Think clearly.  Do not allow your imagination run wild.  Hand your paragraph to a colleague for editing.  Hand in the edited copy and include your editor's name as well as your own.

  1. Jack broke through the defence and swept in upon the net like a hawk after its prey.
  2. Between periods, out corridors are as crowded as a midway.
  3. An army of children marched boldly into our small backyard.  (An army of children infiltrated the orchard.)
  4. The snow in the hollows began to rise above the hard drifts and to whirl like a ghostly ballet.
  5. From the air, the highway looked like an endless conveyor belt.
  6. The skaters fluttered around the rink.
  7. Across the bleak landscape snaked the slow freight train.
  8. Like a prehistoric monster, the steam shovel scooped up the earth.
  9. Bob prepared to tackle a mountain of homework.
  10. Threatening clouds sailed in endless convoys across the sky.

    Click for student examples.

Assignment:  Write an analogy for next class.

Write a one-paragraph analogy using one of the following topics.

  1. Riding the merry-go-round and dating.
  2. Juggling and paying bills.
  3. Driving on the I-75 and paying bills.
  4. Going fishing and looking for a job.
  5. Shopping in the supermarket and getting an education.
  6. Caring for a child and a dog.
  7. Driving it traffic and fighting on a battlefield.
  8. Sleeping and watching television.
  9. Learning a new culture from an immigrant's viewpoint and learning and environment from an infant's viewpoint.
  10. Looking for Elvis and looking for Truth (or the Holy Grail, an honest person, a unicorn, Big Foot).
  11. The offerings in a college catalogue and a restaurant.
  12. A conquering army and a swarm of locusts
  13. Driving on certain highways and gambling.
  14. A heart and a pump.

You will be graded out of 10 according to your ability to sustain the comparison to include at least three similarities and to maintain the basic comparison (metaphor).  Remember that you are talking about one thing as if it were another.  Your analogy must be clear, unified, and well written grammatically.

If you are feeling particularly creative you may write two paragraphs, but length will not determine your mark.  Humour in this assignment would be appreciated.










Answer to Exercise 3

Woods = Marketplace

Bears = Persons or products which threaten the bell-being of consumers.

Scorched earth = Government legislation which limits commercial activity.

Serious erosion problem = Destruction of opportunities.







Oops.  Not really.




























You should be getting these by now.                  












 I think you're on to something.