A Story by Mike Keenan



Today, we will look at another literary devices. Analogy




An analogy is a literary device that helps to establish a relationship based on similarities between two concepts or ideas.



In the same way as one cannot have the rainbow without the rain, one cannot achieve success and riches without hard work.


Get it?



Many analogies are so useful that they are part of everyday speech. These are often known as figures of speech or idioms. Each analogy below makes a comparison between two things:



Finding a good man is like finding a needle in a haystack.

As Dusty Springfield (singer) knows, finding a small needle in a pile of hay takes a long time, so the task at hand is likely to be hard and tedious.


That's as useful as rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

It looks like you're doing something helpful but really it will make no difference in the end.


Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better but the frog dies in the process.

E.B White's famous analogy shows that sometimes it's better not to know too much.


That movie was a roller coaster ride of emotions.

While you're not flying through the air, the twists, turns and surprises of a movie plot can leave you feeling like you've been through quite an experience.


Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're gonna get.

An often-used analogy from Forrest Gump (movie) shows that life has many choices and surprises, just like a box of chocolates.



Which of those above did you like the best?


Writers use many forms of analogies in their work to make a comparison that is memorable and helps the reader better understand their point. Consider these examples of analogies from famous writers and public figures.



Which one of these do you like the best?


"I am to dancing what Roseanne is to singing and Donald Duck to motivational speeches. I am as graceful as a refrigerator falling down a flight of stairs."

- Leonard Pitts, "Curse of Rhythm Impairment" Miami Herald, Sep. 28, 2009.


"If you want my final opinion on the mystery of life and all that, I can give it to you in a nutshell. The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe."

Peter De Vries, Let Me Count the Ways.


"Writing a book of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo."

- Don Marquis.



Examples of Word Analogies


You will find word analogies, or verbal analogies, used in standardized tests and sometimes in job interviews where you must show the relationship between two objects or concepts using logic and reasoning. These analogies are set up in a standard format. For example:


tree : leaf :: flower : petal


This analogy is read aloud as:


Tree is to leaf as flower is to petal.


This analogy highlights the relationship between the whole (a tree and a flower) and its parts (a leaf and a petal).


Get it?


On tests of logic, one portion of the analogy is left blank and students are left to choose an answer that makes sense to complete the comparison. For example:


dog : puppy :: cat : _______


What’s the answer?


Okay. To solve the analogy, you must first determine the relationship between dog and puppy. Once you realize that a puppy is a baby dog, you can find the corresponding relationship for a cat. A baby cat is a kitten, so the completed analogy is


Dog : puppy :: cat : kitten


Can you complete this one?


hammer : nail :: comb :






white : black :: up :




Okay, a little harder. Try

mansion : shack :: yacht :





short : light :: long :





bees : hive :: bears :





speak : sing :: walk :





Last one-

chef : food :: sculptor :




Nicely done!


Ex. Gretzky is to hockey?????



Okay. I was thinking that “Theo is to composing music as Wayne Gretzky is to playing hockey.

You will have to figure out a suitable analogy for Theo! I’m not sure what to compare him to. I have enjoyed working with you. I hope you keep adding to your vocab book. And try to write a haiku now and then!

Cheers & hugs,

Grandpa Mike

© 2022 Mike Keenan

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Added on March 18, 2022
Last Updated on March 18, 2022


Mike Keenan
Mike Keenan

Kanata, Ontario, Canada

A retired English/Phys-Ed-teacher-Librarian, I write primarily poetry, humour and travel, published in many newspapers & magazines. For poetry feedback, please read my 'Poetry Evaluations' and 'Poetry.. more..