What Is Analogy in Writing?
  • 3-minute read
  • 3rd June 2023

What Is Analogy in Writing?

An analogy is a rhetorical device we use to compare two things based on a quality they share. Analogy is a useful writing technique because it can help explain complex concepts in a simple, memorable way. Check out our guide below on how to use analogies in your writing.

What Is Analogy?

Analogy is a form of simile in which you state that one thing is like something else. For example, Stepping out into the summer heat felt like standing in front of an oven is a simile.

Analogies take a simile to the next level by explaining why something is like something else. Usually, we use an analogy to compare two things that are seemingly unrelated. Take this famous example from the film Forrest Gump:

Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get.

Here, Forrest compares life with a box of chocolates, and then he goes on to explain the point behind the comparison. The listener can imagine a box of chocolates, each with a different filling, and connect it with the uncertainties, twists, and turns of life.

Why Are Analogies Useful?

An analogy takes two things that are unlike and points out something that they have in common. Often, we use analogies to explain an unfamiliar or complex concept by linking it with something familiar and easy to visualize:

The brain works like the keyboard on a computer, sending commands to control the body’s movements and functions.

Analogies are also useful for evoking imagery and making a point in a more memorable way. Sure, you can say that someone is clumsy, but using an analogy to do so crafts a more vivid picture:

Her movements were like a baby giraffe’s, uncoordinated and always on the verge of stumbling.

Word Analogies

Word or verbal analogies are specific types of analogies that compare one kind of relationship with another. The possibilities are endless with word analogies, which we can use in many contexts. For example:

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Pillows on a couch are what hot fudge is to a sundae.

Here, two unconnected relationships are compared. To explain how pillows add a necessary decorative touch to a couch, this analogy refers to the role that hot fudge plays in an ice cream sundae.

Summary: Analogies in Writing

Analogy is a useful writing technique that you can use to make certain concepts easier to understand and/or to evoke imagery that brings your writing to life. We’d love to see how you put this device into practice! Send us a copy of your work, and we’ll ensure that it has perfect grammar, spelling, word choice, and more. Try us out for free today!

Analogy FAQs

What is the difference between an analogy and a simile?

A simile compares two things using like or as. An analogy takes similes a step further by explaining why the two things are alike.

Do analogies appear only in creative writing?

We can use analogies in many contexts, including academic, scientific, and formal writing. They’re useful in scientific writing to compare complex ideas with familiar, simple concepts.

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