An analogy is a literary technique in which two unrelated objects are compared for their shared qualities. Unlike a simile or a metaphor, an analogy is not a figure of speech, though the three are often quite similar. Instead, analogies are strong rhetorical devices used to make rational arguments and support ideas by showing connections and comparisons between dissimilar things.
Analogies are commonly used to show important comparisons and make solid arguments. Here are some examples:.
Every choice you make is like spinning the wheel of fortune—sometimes you will get the result that you desire, while other times you will end up with something you always hoped to avoid. Raising children requires the same dedication you would give to a garden. Nurture them, feed them, introduce them to both light and dark, and have patience; and soon you will see them grow into blooming wonders.
These comparisons create better descriptions and sensory images in the minds of readers. On the other hand, analogies are more elaborate and informational than similes or metaphorsproviding support for the comparisons made rather than just stating them as simple truths.
As you can see, the second example explains how children and gardens have similar qualities because they require similar growing conditions. You may also see analogies that compare relationships rather than individual things.
But the analogy still works in the same way; it explains how the relationships share a similar quality of transforming nutrients. In a literal analogy, you are saying that one thing really is similar to another. For example, when scientists test a new medicine on laboratory mice, they are arguing that mice and humans really are similar in medically significant ways.
Take, for example, the wheel of fortune example. If life were truly similar to a wheel of fortune you would have a lot less control over our choices and the consequences would be unpredictable. As mentioned, analogies are used to make logical arguments and comparisons. Here are a few ways writers might use analogies:. One way to make it easier is to draw analogies to things your readers or students are already familiar with.The Power of Analogy - Why they work and how to use them
Like her, the raft was was floating along, alone, worn out, and unable to reach a steady place in which to settle. Notice what a powerful image this descriptions brings to mind.
But in essaysliterary analysis, and many other fields, persuasion is the name of the game — and analogy can be a powerful tool for that purpose. Notice how Person B has employed a clever analogy to show that Person A is making a faulty argument. They crowded very close about him, with their hands always on him in a careful, caressing grip, as though all the while feeling him to make sure he was there. It was like men handling a fish which is still alive and may jump back into the water.
George Orwell, A Hanging. One interpretation of the analogies is that they create a supernatural feeling by subtly suggesting the possibility that the dead man may simply disappear, or may suddenly come back to life.Out of nowhere, a bear surprised him in the woods … so the hunter pointed the umbrella, fired, and killed the bear.
Understanding leads to acceptance when the argument is sound, well-targeted, and the conclusion seems unavoidable. When it comes to creating effective understanding, analogies are hard to beat. Most of their persuasive power comes from the audience arriving at the intended understanding on their own. But the analogy allowed the cranky patient to come to that conclusion on his own, which is much more persuasive. It first helps to distinguish them from their close cousins, metaphor and simile.
A metaphor is a figure of speech that uses one thing to mean another and makes a comparison between the two. Rather than a figure of speech, an analogy is more of a logical argument. The structure of the argument leads to a new understanding for the audience. The goal is to show that if two things are similar in some ways, they are similar in other ways as well. Let me give you an example of a killer persuasive analogy.
It comes from that master of sophisticated rhetoric, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Gold’s Upcoming Plunge: The Powerful Analogies, Confirmations And Reasoning
Schwarzenegger is an advocate for renewable energy, both for California and the world at large. Given his celebrity status and prior political experience as Governor of California, he has quite the platform to share his views.
First, Arnold says forget whatever you think about climate change. Behind Door Number One is a completely sealed room, with a regular, gasoline-fueled car. Behind Door Number Two is an identical, completely sealed room, with an electric car. Both engines are running full blast. I want you to pick a door to open, and enter the room and shut the door behind you. You have to stay in the room you choose for one hour. You cannot turn off the engine.They are one of the great figures of speech.
Simply put, metaphors help us make comparisons between two things in an indirect manner. For example, saying so-and-so is a lion is saying they are fearless and brave, without saying it directly. While they are closely related, there is a slight difference between metaphors, similes, and analogies:. Whereas a metaphor says A is linked to B, a simile says A is similar to B. As always, I will give my interpretation of the metaphor and suggest how we can make it actionable in our lives.
If you have a different interpretation of any of the metaphors about life or how they can be made actionable, please share them in the comments below! Your thoughts create your actions and your feelings for that matter. Make it actionable: Think better thoughts to create better actions and feelings.
Being self-disciplined is not always fun, but in the end, it pays off. Many people quit way too soon and oftentimes right before they may have had a breakthrough. Make it actionable: Keep persisting through the difficult times. Make it actionable: Look for the best qualities in your friends instead of focusing on their negative aspects.
Make it actionable: Use your imagination at the right times to help foster creativity. Be wary of using it too much, i. Make it actionable: Be careful not to be too materialistic. Make it actionable: Read, think about what you read, and discuss and debate with others. Make it actionable: Hold yourself to a higher standard than others. What do you think? Were there any that you liked more than others?
Learn more Got it! At its most basic, an analogy is a comparison of two things to show their similarities.
Sometimes the things being compared are quite similar, but other times they could be very different. Nevertheless, an analogy explains one thing in terms of another to highlight the ways in which they are alike. Many analogies are so useful that they are part of everyday speech. These are often known as figures of speech or idioms. Each analogy below makes a comparison between two things:. Finding a good man is like finding a needle in a haystack: As Dusty Springfield knows, finding a small needle in a pile of hay takes a long time, so the task at hand is likely to be hard and tedious.
That's as useful as rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic: It looks like you're doing something helpful but really it will make no difference in the end. Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better but the frog dies in the process: E. B White's famous analogy shows that sometimes it's better not to know too much. That movie was a roller coaster ride of emotions: While you're not flying through the air, the twists, turns and surprises of a movie plot can leave you feeling like you've been through quite an experience.
Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're gonna get: An often-used analogy from Forrest Gump shows that life has many choices and surprises, just like a box of chocolates. Writers use many forms of analogies in their work to make a comparison that is memorable and helps the reader better understand their point. Consider these examples of analogies from famous writers and public figures:. I am as graceful as a refrigerator falling down a flight of stairs.
The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe. It was like men handling a fish which is still alive and may jump back into the water. It's like bald people wearing hats.
You will find word analogiesor verbal analogies, used in standardized tests and sometimes in job interviews where you must show the relationship between two objects or concepts using logic and reasoning. These analogies are set up in a standard format. For example:.
This analogy highlights the relationship between the whole a tree and a flower and its parts a leaf and a petal.This Penlighten post explains the concept of analogy in simple terms.
To help you understand it better, we've also provided a list of examples. One of the greatest inventions of the human mind is development of languages. The complexity of a language and its power of conveying ideas lucidly, is testimony to the power of the human mind. Every idea or concept, abstract thought, or physical object has a name. Language is a tool for analyzing and understanding concepts.
As Malone has said in the quote above, an analogy can be worth a thousand words. This article explains the meaning of an analogy and makes the idea more clear through some well-chosen examples. We will also explore what exactly is about an analogy that makes it so effective in clarifying concepts.
Out of all the language tools that are used in understanding concepts, analogy is one of the most important. Making an analogy is drawing parallels between any two things, concepts, processes, or relationships.
That way, it becomes easier to understand things. Making an analogy is understanding a new idea in terms of concepts that we know from before. It is based on an underlying similarity in things. Anything new that we learn, is understood by connecting it to what we know already.
Known relationships, ideas and concepts can be digested easily when an analogy is used. Analogies may not be exact parallels sometimes.
A simile or a metaphor is something akin to an analogy, but not exactly same. Come to think of it, all that we learn is mostly through analogies.
The greatest analogies of modern times
An analogy is an important tool in problem solving and reasoning. In science, it helps in constructing rough theoretical models, which are not exact, but help in visualizing problems and solving them. It drew an analogy between the solar system model and the electrons revolving around the nucleus of an atom. It was not an exactly analogous model, but proved helpful. Analogies make it easier to grasp the underlying idea behind anything. The pattern of understood things in our minds is like a jigsaw puzzle.
Analogies help in filling these pieces to make things clear. Here are some analogy examples that will illustrate what I have said:. Hope these examples have given you an idea of the power of an analogy. It is a cognitive tool of reasoning in understanding almost anything. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website.
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November 11th, min read. The analogy really gets a bad wrap. But analogical reasoning is so much more than mason:stone :: carpenter:wood. Analogies help us understand new concepts by pulling context from our past experiences and knowledge. On the surface, a movie and a roller coaster have nothing in common.
One involves sitting quietly in a dark room for 90 minutes, the other involves flying through the air in death-defying manner for 90 seconds. But we still process the analogy, as the human brain quickly susses out the logical differences and pulls the context needed to understand the concept. Uber has never positioned itself as just an alternative to taxis, instead offering an entirely new experience for traveling, with an audacious goal of someday replacing your own car as a cheaper, more convenient alternative.
When you hear the word escape, what comes to mind? Your Shortcut to Everywhere is Arriving Now is equally as powerful, as just about every one of us views a shortcut as an exclusive advantage over everyone else. Analogies work best when attempting to communicate a new concept or trying to persuade others to try a different one.
So while Dropbox has a great literal value proposition of Your Stuff, Everywhere, Box uses analogical reasoning to position itself a bit differently. Thinking of tomorrow, we generally think of new opportunities, a chance to start over, and looking a bit further, progress.
When Tony Fadell left Apple to pursue his dream of reimagining and reinventing the way we interact with our home he was taking on a monumental task. Much different. Much like your smartphone, Nest measures data and your behaviors to offer a better experience. In a way, this is similar to a relationship.
In order to have a great one, you first need to get to know each other. We all understand this concept.
So it makes perfect sense that Nest make use of this analogy, likening your new thermostat not to that cold piece of hardware currently in your hallway, but to a whole new concept built on care and understanding. Every little kid wanted to be a hero in some form, whether that meant Superman, a police office, a nurse, teacher, or even The Hulk. GoPro even named its product Hero4. New experiences. This is something just about any young person could relate to having done or wish to do soon.
Not just any kind of adventure though.Analogies can be fruitful. In fact, while stories are getting all the press nowadays, analogies are really doing most of the work. Most stories are actually vehicles for conveying an analogy. Analogies are inevitable. They influence what we perceive and what we remember.
They are useful mental shortcuts that we take when we encounter new and unfamiliar situations that require a judgment or decision.
Instead of starting from scratch when we encounter an unfamiliar situation that requires a judgment or decision, prescription we search our experience for similar situations. Analogies help us understand, organize and make sense of incoming information. In fact, analogy is the foundation of learning from experience. People with more experience have a richer store of analogies to draw from, which is what enables them to rapid right decisions without having to agonize over every detail.
We always see more—and less—in a situation than is there. We also see less because we filter out information we consider irrelevant. Once we choose an analogy, it leads us to focus on certain aspects of the situation and ignore others.
Business is full of examples of how a powerful analogy can make the difference in important decisions. InIntel was opposed to developing a low-end chip for PCs because they thought it would cheapen the brand. But in a training seminar, Harvard professor Clayton Christensen explained how established steel companies ignored low-end products like rebar, providing an opening for minimills.
By establishing themselves on the low end, they were then able to move up the value chain and seize the high end. Analogies carry special weight in business presentations because the senior decision makers you want to influence cut their teeth on them—the case study method used in business schools is nothing but analogical thinking on a large scale. As they gain experience in their careers, they are stuffing their minds with analogies that they draw on when they make judgments about new situations.
If you can find the right analogy that resonates with them, you can short-cut a tremendous amount of detail and context and have the inside track on a favorable decision.
I will write much more about analogies in future posts, but for now here is a list of all the benefits that analogies can provide for persuasive communicators:. Perrott, Gentner, Bodenhausen Time limit is exhausted.
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