Introduction and Basic Strategy
The analogy section tests not only your vocabulary skills, but also your ability to identify the relationship between words. You are given a pair of words that have a certain logical relationship to each other. You then must choose a pair of words that has the same logical relationship as the original pair. You are given five pairs ofwords from which to choose. Let's look at an extremely simple example.
1. KITTEN : CAT ::
A) bird : flock
B) duck : goose
C) puppy : dog
D) mare : horse
E) child : adult
What are we asked to do? To tackle analogy questions, first read the initial pair of words, substituting words forthe colons. The first colon (:) is translated "is to" and the two colons (::) are translated "as". So for this example, we read the question as "kitten is to cat as…" Next, we need to define the relationship between this pair of words. What is the relationship between kitten and cat? A kitten is a young cat. So, the relationship between the words is that the first word of the pair is the name forthe young of the second word. Because analogy problems require us to look for a pair of words that have the same relationship has the initial two words, we are looking for a pair in which the first word of the pair is the name for the young of the second word. Once you have determined the relationship between the given pair of words and state it in your mind in sentence form (a kitten is a youngcat), read through the answer choices substituting the possible pairs into the same sentence you have created to describe the initial pair. Let's work through the answer choices. Is a bird a young flock? No, this does not make sense. The relationship for this pair is that of a group of birds are called a flock. Is a duck a young goose? No, these are different animals. Is a puppy a young dog? Yes,this makes sense, but let's still look at the remaining choices to be sure. Is a mare a young horse? No, a mare is a female horse, young or old. Is a child a young adult? Now this one may seem a little tricky, because a child will eventually age to become an adult, but we are not looking for the relationship of young to old, we are instead looking for the relationship of young of some kind of animalto that animal. If instead the answer choice was child : human, then this relationship would be similar to that of kitten : cat, since child is the young of humans, and we would need to consider this choice further. In this case, however, the pair of words that exhibits the most similar logical relationship is choice C, giving us the completed analogy, kitten is to cat as puppy is to dog. Note: it is extremely important to substitute the pairs of words into your sentence in the same order in which they are given. For example, if the answer choice was dog : puppy, we would substitute this into our original sentence as a dog is a young puppy, and this would not make sense. Maintaining the same order for the two words in a pair when substituting into your sentencedescribing the relationship is a very critical point to remember when solving these problems.
The logical relationship between the given pair of words is sometimes obvious, but other times it may be more obscure, requiring you to be able to discern subtleties of meaning. Even with the most difficult analogies, your strategy should be to create a sentence that defines the logical relationshipbetween the given pair of words. The best sentence will explain the relationship explicitly and precisely. The more precise your sentence, the easier it will be to select the answer choice with the two words that have the most similar logical relationship. If your sentence is too general, it is possible that more than one of the answer choices would fit into that sentence. If more than one...
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