Book Cover  Improving Reading Skills, 4/e & Developing Critical Reading Skills, 5/e 
Deanne Spears
  Student Resources

 

VERBAL ANALOGIES: AN INTRODUCTION

 

Verbal analogies provide excellent training in seeing relationships between concepts. From a practical standpoint, verbal analogies always appear on standardized tests (like the SAT, the GRE, and other professional exams). Increasingly, too, employers may use these word comparisons on personnel and screening tests to determine an applicant’s quickness and verbal acuity. So it is worth your while to master this skill, and besides, they’re fun to do.

The student portion of the Web site contains three analogy exercises of varying levels. You can do them alone, either with or without a dictionary, or with friends. Before you begin, however, study the information on this page so that you see the many possible relationships suggested in each pair of words. If you wish to practice with other samples, your instructor can give you additional exercises on the instructor portion of this Web site.

How to "Read" Analogies

The symbol ( : ) means "is to" and the symbol ( : : ) means "as." Thus, the analogy, "aspirin : headache : : nap : fatigue," should be read "aspirin is to headache as nap is to fatigue." Stated another way, the relationship between aspirin and headache is the same as the relationship between nap and fatigue.

Tips for Doing Analogies

Common Relationships Between Word Pairs

1. Sameness (synonyms) boring : monotonous
wealthy : affluent : : indigent : poverty-stricken
2. Oppositeness (antonyms) genuine : phony
zenith : nadir : : pinnacle : valley
3. Classification Order (general - specific) food : fruit : peach
orange : fruit : : beet : vegetable
4. Difference of Degree (or Connotative Values) cool : cold : frozen
slender : skinny
clever : crafty : : modest : prim
5. Person Related to Tool, Major Trait, Skill, or Interest writer : novel
entomologist : insects : : philosopher : ideas
6. Part and Whole wheels : bicycle
eraser : pencil : : tooth : comb
7. Steps in a Process birth : life : death
cooking : serving : : word processing : printing
8. Cause and Effect (or Typical Result) poison : death
fire : scorch : : blizzard : freeze
9. Thing and Its Function shovel : dig
scissors : cut : : pen : write
10. Qualities or Characteristics gold : valuable
aluminum : lightweight : : thread : fragile
11. Substance Related to End Product cow : milk
silk : scarf : : wool : sweater
12. Implied Relationships light : knowledge
clouds : sun : : hypocrisy : truth
13. Thing and What It Lacks spinster : husband
atheist : belief : : indigent : money
14. Symbol and What It Represents Uncle Sam : U. S.
dove : peace : : four-leaf clover : luck

 

Verbal Analogies Exercise 1

Verbal Analogies Exercise 2

Verbal Analogies Exercise 3

 



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