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Analogy

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Analogy

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Analogy is a figure where an item is compared with a similar other.

Example

Now you're acting like an idiot.

The atom is like a miniature solar system.

The train came out of the tunnel like a bullet from a gun.

Discussion

Analogy works on the assumptive principle that if two items are similar in some respects then other attributes will also be similar. This can be helpful when thinking about a situation and a number of scientific discoveries have been assisted by analogous thinking.

Analogy is different to a metaphor in that the metaphor says 'A is B', whilst the analogy says A is like B'. The comparison is thus not as strong. Saying 'A is B' means 'A is the same as B in all respects', whilst saying 'A is like B' means 'A is the same as B in some respects'. Using analogy is hence not as strong a comparison as using metaphor and consequently may be more acceptable in situations where direct equating is not appropriate.

Analogy has also been described as a 'shared abstration', a form of induction and a hidden deduction.

In argument, comparisons taken from an analogous field may be drawn in to explain and justify arguments. Using analogy in this way easily becomes fallacious.

Analogy comes from the Greek 'analogia', meaning ‘according to a due ratio’.

Classification: Reference

See also

Assumption principle, Analogical reasoning, Metaphor

 

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