Mr. Mulgrewís Analogy Bible


"Analogies are a %$#^&@*!!!" This is a common quote of students as they prepare and take standardized tests such as the SSAT, PSAT, SAT, GRE, and Millerís Analogies. There are no tricks to learning how to do analogies, however, learning the different types of analogies will help you establish better answers and increase your overall scores.

"What is an analogy and why should I care?" Another common quote. An analogy is an expression of a relationship. It is a proportional statement in which the relationship between two things is linked to the relationship of two other things. If you canít understand relationships, then abandon all hopes of dating or attempts at friendships. The point being, you can do this! You may feel like your brain is exploding if you just try to tackle analogies from any one of the several study guides. I have found that most students eventually have a greater understanding of analogies if they FIRST LEARN THE DIFFERENT TYPES, and have very easy examples associated with each one. The list below is a list of the types of analogies and examples that have proven to work well. Memorize one each day, and you will learn this with very little pain.

"Analogies are those dot thingies." I hear this from students who have obviously had some exposure to analogies and have sensed an all-too-common frustration. Learning to read them correctly will help. Analogies are written with the symbols : ("Is to") and :: ("As") I know that this seems backwards; two sets of dots should be the symbol for two words. You are right; it is backwards, but it is correct. Therefore, the following example,
      shoe: foot :: hat: head  is read, "Shoe is to foot as hat is to head."
And lastly, please donít call them, "Dots." It is called, "Colon."

"I am in the middle of a test and I just canít find the right answer. I know the correct answer, and it is not one of the choices." Analogies can be frustrating. It is important to recognize that there is sometimes more than one possible answer. Consider the following Agent /Object example
                        painter : brush :: _____________ : baton

Depending on your background knowledge, you might answer that a conductor uses a baton. A student involved in a marching band might say a drum major uses a baton to lead a parade. Someone else might say that a cheerleader twirls a baton; they also saw this in a parade. Still another person might remember a picture of a General sitting on top of a tank holding his riding crop or baton. If the test allowed you to write the answer, each one of these four students would get a correct answer. Conversely, if the question was multiple choice, only one of these answers should be listed among the possible choices. If none of the choices seems to be correct, think again. There is a best possible answer somewhere in the choices.





Types of analogies:

Object/ Function             broom : sweep :: axe : chop

Characteristic                  candy : sweet :: pickle : sour

Part/ Whole                    handle : mug :: knob : door

Whole/ Part                    lobster : claw :: cat : paw

Location                        student : school :: sailor : ship

Action/ Object               run : track :: swim : pool

Agent/ Action or Agent/ Object teacher : pupil :: doctor : patient

Class or Synonym         smell : sniff :: see : look

Familial                         grandfather : father :: father : son

Grammatical                  hear : heard :: see : saw

Temporal or Sequential   first : third :: fifth : seventh

Antonym                       smile : frown :: happy : sad

Degree                          warm : hot :: cool : cold

Arithmetical                   (1+2) : (5-2) :: (3+3) : (7-1)


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