How to write an analogy essay

How to write an analogy essay

Your professor has walked in and gives the class an analogy essay. It is supposed to amount to 30% of your final grade. You however have no idea how to write an analogy essay. You begin worrying about what to write, and even worse, your grades are about to take a fall as you watch. This should be the case if you have no other way out, but you do. This article is all you need to learn all about writing an analogy essay.  

What is an analogy?

An analogy is defined as a comparison that shows how two things are alike with the ultimate goal of making a point from the comparison.  The two things or ideas being compared are ordinarily thought unlike and different. This comparison is then used to explain or put into perspective concepts and ideas that are hard to comprehend or are too sensitive. An analogy shows and explains how the two things are alike.

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By showing the similarity between two unlikely things, analogies create a sense of relativity. They tend to move from the familiar to the unfamiliar by comparing several points with their counterpoints. Metaphors and similes are tools used in conveying an analogy. The analogy is however more complex than a metaphor or simile. An analogy essay is a lengthened analogy in which one thing is compared to another in considerable depth. When coming up with analogy essay ideas, you can compare almost anything as long as you can find a convincing comparison.

Examples of analogies

“Life is like a train journey and the people we meet are the co-passengers.” This is a simile. It compares life to a train journey and people to the co-passengers. This can be interpreted as life is always moving. In life, as you go you continue to meet different and new people at each stage.

Another example is “what you are doing is as useful as rearranging the deck chairs on Titanic.” This kind of comparison is known as a metaphor. This is being used to compare the task being done to that of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The two actions are not just being compared. The speaker shows that the first action is as useless as rearranging deck chairs on a ship that ended up sinking.

Examples of analogies used in literature

Analogies in essay writing or books are sometimes used in an illogical context. For instance, In George Orwell’s ‘the hanging’. He says the people’s touches were like men holding a fish that is still alive and may jump back into the water. The comparison is made between a dead man and a fish. He was not trying to bring out a new idea, but a sense of the supernatural. He suggests that the man could come back to life at any moment and escape from the crowds’ hands.

An example of an analogy being used in a logical comparison is in William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other word would smell as sweet. So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called”. In this excerpt, Juliet is comparing Romeo’s name to that of a rose. According to these words, Juliet is communicating that Romeo’s last name does not change who he is. In the same way, calling a rose by any other name does not change its characteristics.

Difference between an analogy, simile, and metaphor

Analogies, similes, and metaphors are related because they are all used to compare things. People often confuse the three and don’t know what the difference is. There are however vital differences you should take note of. Some of these differences are”

  • A simile uses the words ‘like’ and ‘as’ for comparisons, for instance, as dry as the desert or life is like a train
  • A metaphor is like a poetic way of saying one thing is something else, a metaphor says life is a train or my mouth was a desert
  • An analogy says one thing is like something else and continues to give explanatory remarks, for instance, life is a train, it is always moving towards different stages
  • A simile is a type of metaphor, all similes are metaphors but not all metaphors are similes

You can use a metaphor or a simile when creating an analogy. The end goal is to provide explanatory remarks after the comparison. This makes analogies more complex because metaphors and similes only make comparisons.

Benefits of using analogies

There is a saying that states one analogy is worth three hours of discussion. The mental challenge of analogies is a good way to spark conversation. A study carried out at MIT states that analogies can help people make sense of technological innovations and changes. In all aspects of life, people use analogies to make sense of changes and understand the unfamiliar. They do so by comparing it to the familiar. Learning and interpreting analogies has proved to have lifelong benefits. These benefits include;

Addressing higher-order thinking skills (HOTS)

You are also expected to do more each day with what you have learned and what your brain has stored. This requires the implementation of higher-order thinking skills. The use of analogies engages your brain into thinking about what you have been learning and how they connect. Analogies are known to be a good learning tool for building up thinking skills and conceptual understanding. Examining analogy analysis essay topics is one of the ways of boosting one’s thinking capabilities.

Social comprehension

Analogies are the best way of showing how two different social issues are related. As the world grows, the issues change from one to the other. Analogies help writers to convey tougher messages. Difficult and sensitive subjects can be approached from a point of the familiar. This way, newer social issues become understandable.

Improving vocabulary skills

When the younger generations use analogies, they get interested and ready for more intense and complex readings.  They begin to understand that words can have more than one meaning and learn the contextual interpretation of these words. In earlier learning stages, analogies can be used to learn new words and how to interpret them successfully.

Developing verbal reasoning skills

Analogies prompt students to develop critical learning strategies. These learning strategies allow them to comprehend the relationship between words and how they work together. Study shows that when a teacher uses analogies in the classroom, students understand better. They easily connect the new topic to the ones they have already been taught.

Speeding up reading comprehension

When students can connect new topics to ones they already know, their focus is sharpened and deepened. By using analogies, students practice making connections while getting to use recently acquired vocabulary. This brings an improvement in their reading comprehension.

Types of analogies

Analogies are divided into ten types based on these two principles;

Analogies that identify identical relationships; the word analogy was birthed from the Greek word that means proportionality. Greek scholars used analogies to directly illustrate similar relationships between pairs of words. This was mostly for logical arguments. These analogies are written as ‘A is to B as C is to D’. An example of such an analogy is ‘black is to white as on is to off’. In this, black and white which are considered opposites are compared to on and off which are also complete opposites. The relationship between the two pairs of words is similar.

Analogies that identify shared abstraction; these analogies compare two technically unrelated things. They are used to draw comparisons between specific attributes or shared patterns. An example of such an analogy would be ‘raising children is like gardening, nature them and be patient.  This analogy compares two unlike activities but relates them based on the pattern that is similar in both. Such a technique is useful in writing. While readers know nothing about parenting, they can relate it to the familiarity of gardening. This is the most advisable principle for analogy argumentative essay writing.

The ten types of analogies are;

Effort and result analogy;

These analogies are characterized by using words that represent effort and one that represents results. For instance, pain and building or studying and graduating.

Object and classification analogy;

This classifies objects into groups. One object can be part of several groups. For example, a knife as a weapon and a knife as kitchenware.

Opposite analogy; These analogies use words that are opposite in meaning. Like black and white or crying and laughing. These words are opposites of each other but can be used to create an analogy.

Cause and effect analogies;

When one action is known to cause a reaction, the second can be used to create a cause and effect analogy. Fire and burning or reading and learning are examples. One word is the cause while the other is the consequence.

Object and group analogies;

This is the opposite of object and classification. For this, several objects of the same kind are used to create a group. For instance, trees making a forest.

Degrees of a characteristic analogy;

This analogy mostly compares adjectives, for example, exhausted and tired or cold and freezing. It is important to note that it is not always adjectives.

Object and related object analogies;

When you talk about plants and seeds or cake and flour, these are what objects and related objects are made of. Two objects are related to each other.

Problem and solution analogies;

These analogies are created under the reasoning that for every problem there is a solution. Examples of such are tired and sleep or dirt and cleaning.

Performer and action analogies;

These analogies are created by mentioning both the performer and the action they perform. For instance, a painter and painting or a farmer and farming.

Object and function analogies;


The premise of these analogies is that one word is the objects while the other is the related function. For instance, a keyboard is meant for typing, or a cup is meant for drinking.

While going through analogy essay samples, you should try to identify what type of analogy was used to sharpen your knowledge of analogies.

How to write an analogy

Analogies are essential and useful techniques of writing that can also be complex and difficult to use effectively. Learning how to write analogies is a big step towards learning how to do an analogy essay. If used too much, you risk having your writing looking careless and sloppy. You do not need to make comparisons on just anything. Use the analogies strategically to achieve a professional and intellectual presentation. Some of the poorly written analogy examples include;

He ran as fast as a cheetah in the race. This is a poor analogy because you have created an ambiguous statement. It seems like there was a cheetah in the race. Instead, a good analogy would be; in the race, he ran as fast as a cheetah.

On that warm, summer day, we went down to the beach, where the sand was as white as snow. This is a poor analogy because the writer is trying to emphasize the bright, warm sunny day at the beach. By bringing in the snow, you are now creating an image of cloudy and cold. This analogy is working against the warm day imagery instead of improving it.

How then do you write a good analogy? Here are the tips;

Remember to create easy to understand imagery

Be considerate of your audience. Don’t use complicated analogies when addressing children. If you are explaining the similarity between two things, make sure you use common examples that are easy to comprehend. If your readers are unfamiliar with the image you are bringing up, your analogy will not encourage deep thought. It will be useless.

Work to compare and contrast;

Think critically about the idea you are trying to convey. Try to find a commonplace that you can relate to finding a connection between the two things. Analyze both their similarities and their differences. Weigh which connection brings out the most powerful image and which will set up the clearest comparison. You aim to connect with the audience at a point of unfamiliarity.

Come up with ways to inspire;

Good analogies not only explain but also inspire. An analogy is a powerful literary tool used to communicate a message. An analogy can also turn an idea into a vivid image in the reader’s mind. They will remember this image even later after they finish reading.

When and how to use an analogy in an essay

Analogies add an important factor in your writing. When used well, your work is bound to stand out from all others. Analogies are known to improve one’s logic, reasoning, and writing. The best way to internalize and learn how to work with analogies is to practice. These are the principles to follow as you incorporate analogies in your work;

  • Make sure the aspect you are comparing is clear
  • Your analogy should come from something people can visualize, your inspiration should be concrete to have an impact
  • If your subject is an abstract concept, do not compare it to an abstract idea, find a connection with something tangible
  • Use analogies that are suited to the setting of your writing, the setting plays an important role in how your analogy will be interpreted.

Analogies can be used in any section of your writing. They are versatile. However, there are parts of your paper where analogies create a bigger impact in sparking deep thoughts. Look at analogy essay examples to gain insight on this. These are some of the areas;

  • In the introduction to build interest in your paper, this will draw someone’s mind into wanting to know more
  • To explain a new unknown or abstract idea so that your reader can easily relate and understand
  • When used In the conclusion it relates your paper to a familiar concept, it brings a sense of closure because your reader relates to your content

Writing an analogy essay

An analogy essay is not written like a regular paper. There are steps to follow and rules to observe. The format is also different and unique. Let’s look at the steps of writing an analogy essay,

analogy essay

The structure of the analogy essay topics is that half of the analogy is the subject while the other half is the explainer. This means that you will use the explainer part of the analogy to talk about the subject. For instance, use the analogy growing up is like learning to ride a bicycle. Your essay will be explaining the complex subject of growing up in terms of the familiar topic of learning how to ride a bike.

2.      Draw a vertical line

Draw a vertical line through the middle of a piece of paper and divide it in half. On one side list the characteristics of the explainer and on the other list those of the explained. Try to match the relationship of each characteristic of the explainer with its characteristics. For instance, the training wheels may be similar to the need to have constant supervision when you were younger.

3.      Discuss the explainer

Write a paragraph or two talking about the explainer. Start the paragraph by mentioning the analogy in question. In this case, growing up is like learning to ride a bicycle. Follow the analogy by describing the process and stages of learning how to ride a bike.

4.      Discuss the explained

Write one or two paragraphs that dig into the explained. Your first statement should be an overview of what the two ideas share. For example, you may choose to say, growing up also involves getting more freedoms as you become more confident. Support this with points relating the explained parallel to the explainer.

5.      Discuss the differences

In some instances, there may be an important aspect of the explanation that does not match with anything on the explainer. For instance, in our example, you eventually fully learn how to ride a bike, but you never stop growing up and learning new things. These are the distinctions you should discuss as differences.

Main features of an analogy essay paper

An analogy is a unique essay because it does not need factual evidence. All you need is creative skills in writing.  The writing style used in an analogy paper essay is unique.

How to develop an outline

The general format of an analogy essay consists of a title, an introduction, differences, resemblance, and a conclusion.  It is also important to have a thesis statement that will guide you as you write.

In this case, a thesis statement is known as an analogy statement. The statement needs to have the subject of the essay, the purpose, and the focus of the topic. The analogy statement informs the reader on the comparison of the explainer with regards to the resemblance of the explained for different reasons.

The title contains the two subjects you intend to examine. It takes the format of a simile. One of the analogy essay example topics is “drug addiction is like a life in jail.”

You then move on to the introduction. Here you should handle the first subject which is normally the issue you are discussing. Include the status and recent events about your first subject. Focus on pointing out the resemblance that will hook the reader to your paper. The analogy essay introduction normally ends with an analogy statement.

The next step in the analogy essay is the differences. You are expected to highlight minor differences by noting the comparison to the resemblance. After this, you should elaborate on the significant differences. Each difference falls into its paragraph.

The fourth part involves pointing out resemblances between the explainer and the explained to illustrate the argument. You should describe the similarity in separate paragraphs in order of importance. Start with the least important to the most important. Compare characteristic A of the explained to characteristic A of the explainer.

The last part is the conclusion where you highlight the analogy. Emphasize the main point you were trying to drive home. You should also provide the next cause of action. An analogy essay conclusion should be catchy and bring a sense of finality to the paper.

After the writing, it is important to proofread your paper. Read your paper as you take note of the errors. Check on grammatical errors, wrongly constructed sentences, and plagiarized information. You could ask a friend to read the paper and help you make any necessary changes before submission.

Final remarks on analogy essay writing

Writing an analogy essay is a fun way of conveying tough messages. It is however more complicated than a normal essay. There are steps and points to consider to write an intriguing analogy essay. This article has put down all you need to know about analogies and analogy essay writing. In case you still need help with your essay or have other analogy essay questions, contact us for assistance.

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