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Solving Analogies

Solving analogies is a terrific way to sharpen your thinking skills and prepare for standardized tests.

An analogy is a type of word problem that consists of two word pairs. To solve the analogy you must find a word that correctly completes the second pair. At first glance, the words in an analogy may seem to have nothing to do with each other, but the words are always logically related. The first pair of words has a relationship similar to the second pair of words. To solve the analogy, you need to figure out that relationship.

Example:

    GRACEFUL : CLUMSY :: HOT : _______
  1. Read the analogy like this: Graceful is to clumsy as hot is to ‘blank.’
  2. Then ask yourself: What's the relationship between graceful and clumsy? These words have opposite meanings – they are antonyms – so the second pair of words must also be antonyms.
  3. Fill in the blank with a word that means the opposite of hot, and you’ve solved the analogy. The best answer is COLD.

Common Analogy Types


The word pairs in an analogy often have one of the following relationships:

Antonyms: Words that have opposite meanings, as in HOT : COLD

Synonyms: Words that have the same or similar meanings, as in UNHAPPY : SAD

Descriptive: One word describes the other word, as in FAST : CHEETAH

Part to whole: One word is a part or piece of the other, as in PIECE : PUZZLE

Item to category: One word is an item in the category named by the other, as in
BASEBALL : SPORTS BALLS

Some analogies will not fit into the categories above.

Example:

    PUPPY : DOG :: KITTEN : _______
  1. Read the analogy like this: Puppy is to dog as kitten is to ‘blank.’ The first pair of words are not related in any of the ways listed above.
  2. Try reading the analogy as a sentence that expresses the relationships between the words: A puppy is a young dog, as a kitten is a young....?
  3. To solve this analogy, fill in the blank with a word that best completes this sentence. CAT is the best answer.
Back to Word Analogy

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