HomeEnglish LanguageEnglish: Vocabulary: Analogy

English: Vocabulary: Analogy

6 minutes read

The aspirants taking CLAT examination will be tested about analogies, as it evaluates both in vocabulary and aptitude for reasoning in the candidate.

What is analogy?

Analogy essentially is the instrument that compares ideas or things which are in its essence different and projects the similarity or relation between them. Sometimes the analogy projects very similar ideas at other times they project quite a different thing.

Analogy requires connection and comparisons which demands a flexible use of language.

It is quite possible that a metaphor or complex analogy may not make much sense on the surface however, with a little effort to understand the relationships between the things being compared will usually clear things up.

There are two symbols in an analogy viz the colon and the double colon. The colon (:) stands for is related to, and the double colon (::) can be read as in the same way that.

For example- Pigs: Sty; Horses: Stable [Here the words express the relationship of an animal and their habitat, thus the analogy here is habitat]

Cardiologist: Heart;  Nephrologists: Kidney [Here cardiologist treats heart and a specialist for kidneys is known as Nephrologist.]

CLAT mainly focuses on word analogy, wherein one is given a pair of words and additionally four pair of words as options in the answer.

The key to solving any question on analogy is to first establish a relationship between the pair given and then find a similar relationship in the options that are given.

Model analogy question


  1. Tree : Root b) Battle : Soldier c) Poem : Stanza   d) Sight : Vision 

As we have already discussed in the aforesaid that analogy seeks to establish a relationship; you are here required to formulate a relationship between the words given in the question i.e. Examination and test.

Examination and test almost mean the same thing, therefore they are synonyms. Now you are required to ascertain a similar relationship between the answer choices.

Root is a part of tree; therefore it does not mean the same thing and fails the synonym test that we are trying to establish so it’s a wrong option. Soldiers fight in the battle and are thus a part of the battle whereas stanzas are part of the poem.

Now all the three options are though analogies to themselves they do not establish or fulfil the criteria that we are seeking to establish i.e. two words should be synonyms. Thus all three options are incorrect. However, here sight and vision mean the same thing, therefore satisfy the synonym test. Hence option d is the correct answer.

How to solve problems on analogy

  • The first step shall always be to try and establish a relationship between the given pair of words. There is in all cases a direct and necessary relationship between the words in the question.
  • Once you have the relationship formulated, try making a simple sentence about the given pair of words. Follow the same step for answer choices.
  • In case the more than words in the answer choices fit the criteria of relationship, try establishing a narrower relationship between the words in question and then apply the new relationship to the answer choices.
  • Avoid the obvious relationship between more than one answer choices for these are given to confuse you. In such answer choices, you may find words that are related in a similarity of meanings but are different once you establish a grammatical or logical connection. You must re-read the question and try to establish a specific relationship rather than the obvious because it is impossible that a question will have two or more correct answer.
  • One is required to establish a direct and necessary relationship in the analogy. Resultantly it is advisable to eliminate the choices that do not establish a direct and necessary connection. Try making informed guesses whilst you are at it.
  • Sometimes it is a secondary meaning or a close synonym that is the rick to answer. Therefore in order to establish a direct relationship try using the secondary meaning of the words to arrive at a more sensible relationship.

Common kinds of analogy

Analogy of antonyms: Herein we compare the opposite attribute the words in question. It may contain two opposing actions, elements, feelings, thoughts, and phenomena.

Example: Sweet : Sour;  Impartial : Biased

Analogy of synonym: In this case, we establish nexus between words of similar meaning. Here we find words of parallel meaning.

Example: Great: Wonderful; Alleviate: Reduce

Analogy of characteristic or attribute: This is the case where trait or characteristic of an element or object or person is compared.  These are also called descriptive analogy because one word describes the other.

Example: Dog: Loyal;  Heir: Inherit

Analogy of definition: In this kind of analogy one of the words defines the other or is the synonym of the other.

Example: Archipelago: Island; Constellation: Star

Analogy of Part to whole: This analogy is focused where one word is the part of the other. The order can be part to whole or whole to part.

Example: Keyboard: Computer; School: Classroom

Analogy of member and class: In this kind of analogy a word is the element of the class which the other word generally describes. The order is a member and the class generally but could be vice versa.

Example: Apple: Fruit; Tree: Flora

Analogy of performer and related action: This kind of analogy usually pertains to the relationship where one is a performer and the other is the action that the performer renders. The order can be the other way round as well.

Example: Arbitrator: Judge; Artist: Sketch

Analogy of performer and tool: In this analogy, the relationship between the performer and his tool is traced. The order is liable to change.

Example: Artist: Brush; Carpenter: Hammer

Analogy of tool and object: This analogy traces the relationship between the tool and the object which it uses.

Example: Hammer: Nails; Car: Fuel

Cause and effect analogy: In this analogy, one word describe the cause of a particular action or event whereas the other word describes the effect of the given cause.

Example: Detonation: Explosion; practice: improve

Analogy of manner: This kind of analogy the manner, way and style by which the action is accomplished is described.

Example: Winnow: Wheat; Refine: Oil

Analogy of Symbol: Here one would witness a relationship where one word represents a concept, action or thing.

Example: Aside: Parentheses;   Olive branch: Peace

Analogy of action and significance: It is an analogy wherein one word describes an action whereas the other word reflects the significance of the action.

Example: Fidget: Uneasiness, Curtsey: Reverence

Analogy of intensity:  This type of relationship pertains to the words in each pair have similar meanings, but one word is stronger, more intense, than the other.

Example: Thrifty: Miserly; Tepid: Hot

Analogy of pair:  This analogy reflects on objects that are incomplete without the existence of the other. This helps us put things together in an easier fashion.

Example: Pen: Ink; Letter: Envelope

Analogy of gender: In this analogy, we describe the gender relationship.

Example: Duck: Drake; Lion: Lioness

Analogy of grammatical relationship: This kind of analogy establishes the grammatical relationship.

Example: He: His; Noun: Pronoun

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

Example: Page: Book; Stanza: Poem

Analogy of location:  In this kind of analogy one seeks to establish a relationship between the location of the subject matter.

Example: Apples: Orchard; Books: Library

Analogy of offspring: In this analogy, one word defines the creature and the other the offspring. The order of the words may vary.

Example: Chick: Hen; Frog: Tadpole

Analogy of function:  This analogy traces the relationship where one word is the purpose or function of the other word.

Example: Nose: Olfactory; Eyes: Vision

Aforesaid is a list of some of the most common analogies in the English language.


Swati Sharma

Aditya Anand
Aditya Anand
Aditya is 93.1% sure that he knows Japanese. We think he speaks Japanese in Bhojpuri accent.


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