Share quotes from famous books or tips for budding writers.

15 Types of Analogies in the English Language

15 Types of Analogies in the English Language

Analogies are very important to make a meaningful comparison. They are also important in order to establish a relation of similarity between two odds which share a fine line of similarity, despite all odds. Penlighten gives an overview of the common types of analogies, with examples of each type.
Samarpita Choudhury
Some Common Analogies

"As smoking is to the lungs, so is resentment to the soul; even one puff is bad for you."Elizabeth Gilbert

"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." Forrest Gump

An analogy is a writing technique that states a new idea with the aid of a familiar piece of information. It is also a comparison that is drawn between two objects by highlighting their similarities. Let us take a look at some of the most common types of analogies that are used frequently in the English language.

Common Types of Analogies with Examples

A metaphor is a phrase of comparison that is drawn between two thoughts, activities, or objects, which are in fact very different from each other. It is in lieu some similarity between them that the direct comparison is thus made. The comparison is made without using words such as 'like' and 'as'. The comparison is also made directly.

a. Life is a roller-coaster ride, with unnamed twists and turns on its course.
b. Singing to her is walking on a piece of cake.
c. She is a feather on the weighing machine.

From these sentences, it can be understood that the things which are compared are totally unrelated to each other, yet, they are similar in some way, and hence, they are linked.

Like a metaphor, a simile too draws a comparison between two unrelated things. What makes it different from the former is the incorporation of words such as 'like' and 'as'.

a. The world is like a stage, and we are like the players.
b. She is as patient as a crane.
c. He is as thin as a piece of twig.

Thus, we see that the comparison between unrelated things have been made easily here with the help of 'as' and 'like'.

Cause and Effect
To understand this form of analogy, it is beneficial to remember that every action is followed by another action. Hence, if anything takes place, another action would succeed it.

a. Smiles are to happiness, as tears are to grief.
b. Sun is to heat, as wind is to breeze.
c. Heat is to drought, as rain is to flood.

These comparisons are 'cause and effect' analogies.

Analogy of the Opposites
This analogy compares the attributes of two opposing actions, elements, feelings, thoughts, and phenomena.

a. Beauty vs. Ugliness.
b. Attrition vs. Retention.
c. Sweet vs. Sour.

There are countless examples of this category of analogy.

► Classification or Category
In this class of analogy, one element finds its place in the whole group of other such objects which are similar in many features.

a. Rivers and seas are water-bodies.
b. Jute and Sisal are fibers.
c. Keats and Donne were poets.

From the above examples, we can understand that two or more things which are similar in most attributes form a larger group.

► Single-Group or Part-Whole
In this type of analogy, there is the mention about one object which forms a single part of a group of the same objects.

a. A fish: singular
A school of fish: plural
b. A bird: singular
A flock of birds: plural
c. A wolf: singular
A pack of wolves: plural

It is evident that a group of fish is called a school, bird is called a flock, and wolf is called a pack.

► Attribute or Characteristic
This analogy highlights the characteristic or a trait of a particular object or a person. This means that, the trait or characteristic is essential for the existence of the object or person to be in that form.

a. The teacher has knowledge.
b. The song has a melody.
c. The torch has light.

From the above examples, we can understand that two or more things which are similar in most attributes form a larger group.

► Action-Performer
This analogy draws a relation between an action and the person who specializes in performing that action.

a. A singer sings.
b. A chef cooks.
c. A teacher teaches.

► Description
With this analogy, we can easily describe the characteristic or nature or quality of an object.
a. As blue as the sky.
b. As cold as snow.
c. As light as a feather.

It is well-known that the sky is blue, snow is cold, and feathers are light. So when we attempt to describe something which may be blue, or cold, or light, then we can refer to the above in order to compare.

► Degree
This analogy describes the characteristic to the superlative or to an extreme, or to maximum intensity.

a. Sob - Howl.
b. Grin - Laugh.
c. Thrifty - Miser.

So, by these examples, we can understand the various levels of the same action.

► Function
This kind of analogy is to describe the function that is performed by an object.

a. An air conditioner adjusts the temperature in the room according to the comfort of the dwellers in a room.
b. A camera is used to click images.
c. A thermometer measures temperatures.

► Pairing Together
With this type of analogy, we can easily put things together. Some objects which are incomplete without the existence of the other can be done using this analogy. For instance, if we have to show the relation between two friends who are inseparable, we can easily do this by comparing them with either of the following pairs. So, the sentence would be - Ana and Eva are the best of friends. They are always together like-

a. Letter - Envelope.
b. Pen - Ink.
c. Cup - Saucer.

► Composition
This analogy implies that when a large number of a single element are clubbed together, they make a whole new entity.

a. Page: Book.
b. Sentence: Paragraph.
c. Stanza: Poem.

This is yet another interesting form of analogy. The words sound very similar while pronouncing them together.

a. Night and fight.
b. Sky and dry.
c. Fall and tall.

These are all unrelated words, except for the similarity in their pronunciation.

► Location
This is also a significant analogy that is used to state the relation between an object and the place where it could be located.

a. Dog: Kennel.
b. Apples: Orchards.
c. Book: Library.

The above is a list of some of the most regularly used analogies in the English language.