This article will discuss something that is still related to writing: analogy.
What’s an analogy?
An analogy is a comparison between two similar things, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification.
In English, there are other purposes of making a comparison, but an analogy emphasises on giving an explanation.
Forming an analogy
To form an analogy, we need to make a comparison between two things, using ‘to be like’ or ‘as (adjective/adverb) as.’
Now, on to some examples. Here is my favourite analogy in case I need to explain a mental health condition to someone who’s not yet aware of it.
“Telling someone with mental health conditions to be grateful because ‘other people have it worse’ is like giving a candy to someone who just fell and hurt themselves. The candy is tasty, sure, but it doesn’t solve the main problem.”
By saying that sentence, I don’t necessarily mean to give a candy to someone who just fell. Instead, I’m explaining to my interlocutor that to treat mental health issues, we might need to go deeper than giving advices.
“Many people told me to go have fun or travel or treat myself with something nice whenever I’m depressed. I’m thankful for the advice, but it’s like telling me to have fun whilst my leg is broken.”
Another popular, albeit debatable, example of an analogy is this line by Forrest Gump:
“My momma always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.'”
Forrest Gump (1994). Image credit: on the picture
On one hand, the line was meant to say that when opening a box of chocolates, we never know what flavour we will get. This is just like life, when many things are unpredictable.
On the other hand, a box of chocolates contains chocolates, that surely taste similar, so a box of chocolates is not really comparable to the unpredictable life. Which is why some might say that the line could be an example of analogy, but it’s a weak one.
Does an analogy have to be long and detailed?
Not always. Sometimes, it can go just as simple as the following examples:
“My puppy’s coat is as white as snow, so I call it Snowy.”
“The ballerina looks like she’s as light as a feather.”