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, like the following example:

GRACEFUL : CLUMSY :: HOT: _______

 

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. Read the analogy like this:

Graceful is to clumsy as hot is to ‘blank.’”

Ask yourself: What’s the relationship between graceful and clumsy? These words are antonyms — they have opposite meanings — so the second pair of words must also be antonyms. Fill in the blank with a word that means the opposite of “hot”, and you’ve solved the analogy. The best answer is “COLD.” If you find an unfamiliar word in an analogy, use a dictionary to check its meaning.

Common Analogy Types

In addition to antonyms, the word pairs in an analogy often have one of the following types of relationships:

* 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 names an item that falls into the group named by the other word, as in
BASEBALL : SPORTS BALLS

Here’s another example:

PUPPY : DOG :: KITTEN : _______

The analogy is read: “Puppy is to dog as kitten is to ‘blank.’” The first pair of words is not related in any of the ways listed above. 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. . .”? “CAT” is the best answer.