Analogy literally means a comparison or a comparable similarity. A student has to find a pair of words in the same relation or a similar relation as that of the given pair of words. Analogy is, in a sense, a test of vocabulary since you need to know the meaning of the words given, but in a broader sense it is a test of reasoning ability. To know the meaning of the words will not be enough if one is not able to understand clearly what the relation between the pairs of words is. Therefore, there are two things that are important to attempt a question on analogy:
(i) meaning of all given words
(ii) relationship between the given pairs of words
It is more convenient and time saving to first figure out the relation between the given pair and then compare it with the relations between the pairs in the options given for choice. Consider the following example-
Pen : Write : : Book :
Now first determine the relation between the first two words, it is that of purpose, pen is used to write. Then determine the other word which will be in the same relation to the third word. Book is used to read, then
Pen : Write : : Book : Read
There are different kinds of relationships that could be drawn from daily usage but some common relationships are given below:
- CAUSE : EFFECT
Liquor : Intoxication Liquor causes intoxication
Wound : pain wound cause pain.
In this relation the first word is the cause for the second and the second is the result of the first.
Bottle : Cork a cork is used to close a bottle
Dress : cloth cloth is used to make a dress
In this relation, one word is used for another, there is a purpose between the two
- OBJECT : ACTION
Gun : Fire you fire a gun
Violin : play you play a violin
In this, one term is an object and the other one is action undertaken with the help of that object.
- ACTION : OBJECT
Foment : Riot you foment a riot
Wear : clothes you wear clothes
This is opposite to the previous relation, here the first word is the action and the second the object with which that action is done.
- PART : WHOLE
Book : Literature a book is a part of the larger body of literature
Ship : fleet ship is a part of the collection called fleet
In this relation, the first word will in the same way be a constituent of a bigger body represented by the second word.
Abundant : ample ample means the same as abundant
Skilled : adroit the two words are synonymous, i.e., they mean the same
This relation is when both the words are synonyms.
Abstinence : indulgence indulgence means the opposite of Abstinence
Legitimate : Unlawful Legitimate means legal which is the opposite of unlawful.
In this relation, the two words are opposite to each other in meaning.
- SECONDARY SYNONYMS:
Callous : Indifference The synonym of callous will be indifferent, since both words are adjectives but rather the noun form, indifference, has been given in the relation
Brainwave : Inspired The synonym of Brainwave is inspiration, but instead the second word in this relation is Inspired – the one who has inspiration.
In this relation, the two words are not directly synonymous but a slight change of the part of speech has been made in the second word.
- WORKER : ARTICLE CREATED
Carpenter : furniture carpenter makes wooden furniture
Compose : music a composer composes or creates music
In this relation, the first word is the doer and the second is the professional work done by the first.
- SYMBOL : QUALITY
Olive leaf : Peace an olive leaf is a symbol of peace.
Red : passion the colour red symbolises passion.
In this relation the first word is a symbol, and the second is the meaning represented by the symbol.
- CLASS : MEMBER
Mammal : man man belongs to the class of mammals.
Doggerel : Poem Doggerel is a class of poem which is bad in quality.
In this relation the first word is a member belonging to the class denoted by the second word.
- ACTION : SIGNIFICANCE
Blush : embarrassment if one blushes, that signifies that the person is embarrassed.
Spasm : pain a spasm indicates that the person is in pain.
In this relation the first word is an action and the second is what that action signifies.
Although most of the questions asked in a competitive exam can be solved with the help of the given relationships, for subtle questions a student should apply reasoning to figure out the relation between the given words. Following are certain tips that would help a student to attempt analogy questions.
The first and foremost step while attempting an analogy question should be to DEFEINE THE RELATIONSHIP. To avoid any errors, first define the relationship on paper or in your mind before searching for options. Once you have defined the relationship analyse the given pairs in the light of the relationship.
(1) ANXIOUS : REASSURANCE
resentful : gratitude
perplexed : classification
insured : imagination
vociferous : suppression
First, the relationship can be defined as ‘need’ i.e. an anxious person needs reassurance and then you can check the given pairs to find out that ‘a perplexed person needs classification’. Thus this will be the right analogy.
(2) SIMMER : BOIL
Cook : Fry
Chill : Freeze
Roast : Stew
Slice : Cut
Now, establish the relation between the two given words. It is that of degree. Simmer is the lower degree of boil. Just as chill is the lower degree of freeze.
Always be careful about apparent and easy similarity. These are only to deceive the student as you would be attracted by these options. Always confirm all the options and be highly careful while considering an obvious answer.
e.g. STUTTER : SPEECH
Blare : hearing
Aroma : smelling
Astigmatism : sight
Novocaine : Touch
Stutter is a defect of speech, so the relation between the two is that of defect. But Blare and hearing are closely related since blare means a harsh sound. This may attract the student, but this is not a relation of defect. This relation is in the third option, astigmatism is a defect of sight. So always avoid giving into the temptation of obviously correct answers.
Sometimes a word has two meanings, while what may first come to your mind will be the more frequent sue of that word, if you cannot find a logical relation between the two words. Go beyond the obvious meaning and link the word with the other meaning of the second word.
MAROON : SAILOR
Red : Ship
Crimson : Flower
Stranded : Tourist
Colour : Dress
Maroon also has two meanings the colour ‘maroon’ and the verb maroon which means being left alone or abandoned. Obviously the second meaning will make a logical relation with sailor, a sailor is marooned just as a tourist is stranded.