GRE Analogies are all about relationships. It is used to test your ability to see a relationship between two words and to recognize a similar relationship between two other words.
In this test, you are given a related pair of words or phrases in capital letters. Each capitalized pair is followed by five pairs of words or phrases. Choose the pair that best expresses a relationship similar to that expressed by the original pair.
A GRE analogy reads like a mathematical proportion. Colons and double colons are shorthand to express the relationship between pairs of words. Each analogy starts with a capitalized word pair, followed by five other word pairs in small letters. The task is to find the answer choice pair that expresses a relationship similar to that of the capitalized word pair.
When solving a typical analogy one can read it like this:
ACTOR : CAST :: singer chorus
ACTOR is to CAST as singer is to chorus
To solve GRE analogies,
- Figure out how the capitalized words are related
- Create a sentence that expresses that connection (the relationship between words)
- Test the choice with your created sentence and eliminate the pair of words that do not work
- If there is more than one answer left still – or no answer at all – go back and refine your sentence.
- Choose the best answer.
Some most common analogy connections are:
- part of the definition of
- lack of something is part of the definition
- spurious form
- part to whole
- type of
- tool of
- a place for
- sign of
Note that a clear-cut relationship should exist for both the original capitalized word pair and the correct answer choice. Therefore, if there is no clear-cut connection between the words of those choices eliminate them too.
An analogy is simply a comparison between two things (a pair of words). In this way, it is similar to simile and metaphor. Analogies are used all the time informally. In our daily life conversation, we compare one situation to another, that is we are using an analogy in our daily life conversation. Consider a simile “Life is like a box of chocolates” also compares analogous ideas – the uncertainty and variety in life experiences with the same in a box of chocolates.
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