An analogy (dog is to puppy as cat is to kitten, or, as it commonly appears on standardized tests, especially in higher grades: dog : puppy :: cat : kitten) is a comparison between two things that are usually thought to be different from each other, but have some similarities. They help us understand things by making connections and seeing relationships between them based on knowledge we already possess. Check out the fun Analogies video lessons above to learn more about them!
Analogies are a ubiquitous staple of standardized tests. This type of comparison plays a significant role not only in improving problem solving and decision making skills, but also in perception and memory, as well as communication and reasoning skills. Learning analogies can help with reading and building vocabulary.
Types of Analogies include:
Synonym (happy : joyful :: sad : depressed)
Antonym (inflation : deflation :: frail : strong)
Characteristic (tropical : hot :: polar : cold)
Part/Whole (finger : hand :: petal : flower)
Degree (mist : fog :: drizzle : tropical storm)
Type (golden retriever : dog :: salmon : fish)
Tool/Worker (pen : writer :: voice : singer)
Action/Object (fly : airplane :: drive : car)
Item/Purpose (knife : cut :: ruler : measure)
Product/Worker (poet : poem :: baker : pie)
Different types of analogies are introduced at different levels. Elementary school analogies may be simple, possibly funny analogies; whereas middle school analogies may focus more on analogical reasoning. Analogies practiced in high school delve even more deeply into analogical problem solving.
Analogy vs. Metaphor
Students often confuse analogies with metaphors. Both are comparisons, often involving unrelated objects, so what IS the difference? An analogy is a parallel comparison between two different things, whereas a metaphor is more of a direct comparison between two things, often with one word being used to symbolically represent another. “All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women merely players.” is an example of a famous metaphor. William Shakespeare is directly comparing the world to a stage, with the people playing ” roles” as they go about their daily lives. A comparible analogy would be “Players are to stage as figure skaters are to ice rink.”
Whether the goal is preparing for a standardized test, such as the SAT, or simply increasing one’s communication and reasoning skills, fun online analogies games are an excellent tool for practicing them. Click on the links to the right to play some Analogies games from our sister site Vocabulary Fun, or check out the VocabularySpellingCity games below, each pre-loaded with a list of Analogies at a different grade level! The games below are programmed using the “_ is to _ as _ is to_” format; however, with the ability to customize sentences, you may create Analogies MatchIt Sentences and WhichWord? Sentences games from your own word lists using the “_ : _ :: _ : _” format, if you wish!