English Analogies Notes

 Analogies, literally means a comparison or a comparable similarity. A student has to find a pair of words in the same relation or a similar  relation as that of the given pair of words. Analogy is in a sense, a test of vocabulary since you need to know the meaning of the words given, but in a broader sense it is a test of reasoning ability. To know the meaning of the words will not be enough if one is not able to understand clearly what the relation between the pairs of words is. Therefore, there are two things that are important to attempt a question on analogy:

  1. Meaning of all given words
  2. Relationship between the given pairs of words

It is more convenient and time saving to first figure out the relation between the given pair and then compare it with the relations between the pairs in the  options given for choice.
Consider the following example:
Pen : Write : : Book :
Now first determine the relation between the first two words, it is that of purpose, pen is used to write. Then determine the other word which will be in the same relation to the third word. Book is used to read, then
Pen : Write : : Book : read

Different Kinds of Relationships

There are different kinds of relationships that could be drawn from daily usage but some common relationships are given below:


  • Liquor : Intoxication — Liquor causes intoxication
  • Wound : pain — wound causes pain.

In this relation the first word is the cause for the second and the second is the result of the first


  • Bottle : Cork — a cork is used to close a bottle
  • Dress : cloth — cloth is used to make a dress

In this relation, one word is used for another, there is a purpose between the two


  • Gun : Fire — you fire a gun
  • Violin : play — you play a violin

In this, one term is an object and the other   action undertaken with the help of that object.


  • foment : Riot — you foment a riot
  • Wear :clothes — you wear clothes

This is opposite to the previous relation, here the first word is the action and the second the object with which that action is done.


  • Book : Literature — a book is a part of the larger body of literature
  • Ship : fleet — ship is a part of the collection called fleet

In this relation, the first word will in the same way be a constituent of a bigger body represented by the second word.


  • Abundant : ample — ample means the same as abundant
  • Skilled : adroit — the two words are synonymous, i.e., they mean the same

This relation is when both the words are synonyms


  • Abstinence : indulgence — indulgence means the opposite of Abstinence
  • Legitimate : Unlawful — Legitimate means legal which is the opposite of unlawful

In this relation, the two words are opposite to each other in meaning.


  • Callous : Indifference — The synonym of callous will be indifferent, since both words are adjectives but rather the noun form. Indifference has been given in the relation
  • Brainwave : Inspired — The synonym of Brainwave is inspiration, but instead the second word in this relation is Inspired – the one who has inspiration.

In this relation, the two words are not directly synonymous but a slight mutation of the part of speech has been made in the second word.


  • Carpenter : furniture — carpenter makes wooden furniture
  • compose : music — a composer composes or creates music

In this relation, the first word is the doer and the second is the professional work done by the first.


  • Olive leaf : Peace — an olive leaf is a symbol of peace.
  • Red : passion — the colour red symbolises passion.

In this relation the first word is a symbol, and the second is the meaning represented by the symbol.


  • Mammal : man — man belongs to the class of mammals.
  • Doggerel : Poem — Doggerel is a class of poem which is bad in quality.

In this relation the first word is a member belonging to the class denoted by the second word.


  • Blush : embarrassment — if one blushes, that signifies that the person is embarrased.
  • Spasm : pain — a spasm indicates that the person is in pain

In this relation the first word is an action and the second is what that action signifies.

Although most of the questions asked in a competitive exam can be solved with the help of the given relationships for subtle questions a student should  apply reasoning to figure out the relation between the given words. Following are certain tips that would help a student to attempt analogy questions.

Tip 1

The first and foremost step while attempting an analogy question should be to DEFINE THE RELATIONSHIP. To avoid any errors first define the relationship on paper or in your mind before searching for options. Once you have defined the relationship analyse the given pairs in the light of the relationship.


  • Resentful : gratitude
  • Perplexed : classification
  • Insured : imagination
  • Vociferous : suppression

First, the relationship can be defined as ‘need’ i.e, an anxious person needs reassurance and then you can check the given pairs to find out that ‘a perplex person needs classification’. Thus this will be the right analogy


  • Cook : Fry
  • Chill : Freeze
  • Roast : Stew
  • Slice : Cut

Now, establish the relation between the two given words. It is that of degree. Simmer is the lower degree of boil. Just as chill is the lower degree of freeze.

Tip 2

Always be careful about apparent and easy similarity. These are only to deceive the student as you would be attracted by these options. Always confirm all the options and be highly careful while considering an obvious answer.


  • Blare : hearing
  • Aroma : smelling
  • Astigmatism : sight
  • Novocaine : Touch

Stutter is a defect of speech, so the relation between the two is that of defect. But Blare and hearing are closely related since blare means a harsh sound. This may attract the student, but this is not a relation of defect. This relation is in the third option, astigmatism is a defect of sight. So always avoid giving into the temptation of obviously correct answers.

Tip 3

Sometimes a word has two meanings, while what may first come to your mind will be the more frequent use of that word, if you cannot find a logical relation between the two words, go beyond the obvious meaning and link the word with the other meaning of the second word.


  • Postscript : letter
  • Lyric : song
  • paragraph : text
  • hill : mountain

The common meaning of annex is to add, append or take possession. But with this meaning a logical relationship cannot be built with building. So one must refer to the other meaning of annex, which is a supplementary building. Similarly the relation of supplement also exists between postscript and letter.


  • Red : Ship
  • Crimson : flower
  • Stranded : Tourist
  • Colour : Dress

Maroon also has two meanings the colour ‘maroon’ and the verb maroon which means being left alone or abandoned. Obviously the second meaning will make a logical relation with sailor, a sailor is marooned just as a tourist is stranded.