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Analogy compares two things, which are alike in several respects, for the purpose of explaining or clarifying some unfamiliar or difficult idea or object by showing how the idea or object is similar to some familiar one. While simile and analogy often overlap, the simile is generally a more artistic likening, done briefly for effect and emphasis, while analogy serves the more practical end of explaining a thought process or a line of reasoning or the abstract in terms of the concrete, and may therefore be more extended.
"You may abuse a tragedy, though you cannot write one. You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables." --Samuel Johnson
"He that voluntarily continues ignorance is guilty of all the crimes which ignorance produces, as to him that should extinguish the tapers of a lighthouse might justly be imputed the calamities of shipwrecks." --Samuel Johnson
". . . For answers successfully arrived at are solutions to difficulties previously discussed, and one cannot untie a knot if he is ignorant of it." --Aristotle
Notice in these examples that the analogy is used to establish the pattern of reasoning by using a familiar or less abstract argument which the reader can understand easily and probably agree with.
Some analogies simply offer an explanation for clarification rather than a substitute argument:
"Knowledge always desires increase: it is like fire, which must first be kindled by some external agent, but which will afterwards propagate itself." --Samuel Johnson
"The beginning of all evil temptations is inconstancy of mind, and too little trust in God. For as a ship without a guide is driven hither and thither with every storm, so an unstable man, that anon leaveth his good purpose in God, is diversely tempted. The fire proveth gold, and temptation proveth the righteous man." --Thomas a Kempis
When the matter is complex and the analogy particularly useful for explaining it, the analogy can be extended into a rather long, multiple-point comparison:
"The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ." (And so forth, to the end of the chapter.] --l Cor. 12:12 (NIV)
The importance of simile and analogy for teaching and writing cannot be overemphasized. To impress this upon you better, I would like to step aside a moment and offer two persuasive quotations:
"The country parson is full of all knowledge. They say, it is an ill mason that refuseth any stone: and there is no knowledge, but, in a skilful hand, serves either positively as it is, or else to illustrate some other knowledge. He condescends even to the knowledge of tillage, and pastorage, and makes great use of them in teaching, because people by what they understand are best led to what they understand not." --George Herbert
"To illustrate one thing by its resemblance to another has been always the most popular and efficacious art of instruction. There is indeed no other method of teaching that of which anyone is ignorant but by means of something already known; and a mind so enlarged by contemplation and enquiry that it has always many objects within its view will seldom be long without some near and familiar image through which an easy transition may be made to truths more distant and obscure." --Samuel Johnson
Metaphor is a comparison which imaginatively identifies one thing with another, dissimilar thing, and transfers or ascribes to the first thing (the tenor or idea) some of the qualities of the second (the vehicle, or image). Unlike a simile or analogy, metaphor asserts that one thing is another thing, not just that one is like another. Very frequently a metaphor is invoked by the to be verb:
"Affliction then is ours; / We are the trees whom shaking fastens more." --George Herbert
"Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life." --John 6:35 [And compare the use of metaphor in 6:32-63]
"Thus a mind that is free from passion is a very citadel; man has no stronger fortress in which to seek shelter and defy every assault. Failure to perceive this is ignorance; but to perceive it, and still not to seek its refuge, is misfortune indeed."--Marcus Aurelius
"The mind is but a barren soil; a soil which is soon exhausted and will produce no crop, or only one, unless it be continually fertilized and enriched with foreign matter." --Joshua Reynolds
Just as frequently, though, the comparison is clear enough that the a-is-b form is not necessary:
"The fountain of knowledge will dry up unless it is continuously replenished by streams of new learning. This first beam of hope that had ever darted into his mind rekindled youth in his cheeks and doubled the lustre of his eyes." --Samuel Johnson
"I wonder when motor mouth is going to run out of gas."
"When it comes to midterms, it's kill or be killed. Let's go in and slay this test."
"What sort of a monster then is man? What a novelty, what a portent, what a chaos, what a mass of contradictions, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, a ridiculous earthworm who is the repository of truth, a sink of uncertainty and error; the glory and the scum of the world." --Blaise Pascal
"The most learned philosopher knew little more. He had partially unveiled the face of Nature, but her immortal lineaments were still a wonder and a mystery. . . . I had gazed upon the fortifications and impediments that seemed to keep human beings from entering the citadel of nature, and rashly and ignorantly I had repined." --Mary Shelley
"The furnace of affliction had softened his heart and purified his soul.
Compare the different degrees of direct identification between tenor and vehicle. There is fully expressed:
"Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is sound, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness." --Luke 11:34 (RSV)
There is semi-implied:
"And he said to them, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course."' --Luke 13:32 (RSV)
There is implied:
". . . For thou hast been my help, and in the shadow of thy wings I sing for joy." --Psalm 63:7 (RSV)
And there is very implied:
"For if men do these things when the tree is green what will happen when it is dry?" --Luke 23:31 (NIV)
Like simile and analogy, metaphor is a profoundly important and useful device. Aristotle says in his Rhetoric, "It is metaphor above all else that gives clearness, charm, and distinction to the style." And Joseph Addison says of it:
"By these allusions a truth in the understanding is as it were reflected by the imagination; we are able to see something like color and shape in a notion, and to discover a scheme of thoughts traced out upon matter. And here the mind receives a great deal of satisfaction, and has two of its faculties gratified at the same time, while the fancy is busy in copying after the understanding, and transcribing ideas out of the intellectual world into the material."
So a metaphor not only explains by making the abstract or unknown concrete and familiar, but it also enlivens by touching the reader's imagination. Further, it affirms one more interconnection in the unity of all things by showing a relationship between things seemingly alien to each other.
And the fact that two very unlike things can be equated or referred to in terms of one another comments upon them both. No metaphor is "just a metaphor." All have significant implications, and they must be chosen carefully, especially in regard to the connotations the vehicle (image) will transfer to the tenor. Consider, for example, the differences in meaning conveyed by these statements:
That club is spreading like wildfire.
That club is spreading like cancer.
That club is really blossoming now.
That club, in its amoebic motions, is engulfing the campus.
And do you see any reason that one of these metaphors was chosen over the others? "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few." --Luke 10:2
"The pile of dirt is high, but we do not have many shovels."
"The diamonds cover the ground, but we need more people to pick them up."
So bold and striking is metaphor that it is sometimes taken literally rather than as a comparison. (Jesus' disciples sometimes failed here--see John 4:32ff and John 6:46-60; a few religious groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses interpret such passages as Psalm 75:8 and 118:15 literally and thus see God as anthropomorphic; and even today a lot of controversy surrounds the interpretation of Matthew 26:26.) Always be careful in your own writing, therefore, to avoid possible confusion between metaphor and reality. In practice this is usually not very difficult.
Allusion is a casual and brief reference to a famous historical or literary figure or event:
"You must borrow me Gargantua's mouth first. 'Tis a word too great for any mouth of this age's size." --Shakespeare
"If you take his parking place, you can expect World War II all over again."
"Plan ahead: it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark." --Richard Cushing
"Our examination of the relation of the historian to the facts of history finds us, therefore, in an apparently precarious situation, navigating delicately between the Scylla of an untenable theory of history as an objective compilation of facts . . . and the Charybdis of an equally untenable theory of history as the subjective product of the mind of the historian . . . ." --Edward Hallett Carr
Notice in these examples that the allusions are to very well known characters or events, not to obscure ones. (The best sources for allusions are literature, history, Greek myth, and the Bible.) Note also that the reference serves to explain or clarify or enhance whatever subject is under discussion, without sidetracking the reader.
Allusion can be wonderfully attractive in your writing because it can introduce variety and energy into an otherwise limited discussion (an exciting historical adventure rises suddenly in the middle of a discussion of chemicals or some abstract argument), and it can please the reader by reminding him of a pertinent story or figure with which he is familiar, thus helping (like analogy) to explain something difficult. The instantaneous pause and reflection on the analogy refreshes and strengthens the reader's mind.
ALLITERATION: repetition of the same sound beginning several words in sequence. *Let us go forth to lead the land we love." J. F. Kennedy, Inaugural
*Viri validis cum viribus luctant." Ennius
*Veni, vidi, vici." Julius Caesar
ANACULOCTHON: lack of grammatical sequence; a change in the grammatical construction within the same sentence.
*Agreements entered into when one state of facts exists -- are they to be maintained regardless of changing conditions?" J. Diefenbaker
ANADIPLOSIS: ("doubling back") the rhetorical repetition of one or several words; specifically, repetition of a word that ends one clause at the beginning of the next.
*Men in great place are thrice servants: servants of the sovereign or state; servants of fame; and servants of business." Francis Bacon
ANAPHORA: the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses or lines.
*We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender." Churchill.
ANASTROPHE: transposition of normal word order; most often found in Latin in the case of prepositions and the words they control. Anastrophe is a form of hyperbaton.
*The helmsman steered; the ship moved on; yet never a breeze up blew." Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
ANTISTROPHE: repetition of the same word or phrase at the end of successive clauses.
*In 1931, ten years ago, Japan invaded Manchukuo -- without warning. In 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia -- without warning. In 1938, Hitler occupied Austria -- without warning. In 1939, Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia -- without warning. Later in 1939, Hitler invaded Poland -- without warning. And now Japan has attacked Malaya and Thailand -- and the United States --without warning." Franklin D. Roosevelt
ANTITHESIS: opposition, or contrast of ideas or words in a balanced or parallel construction.
*Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater
*Brutus: Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more." Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
APORIA: expression of doubt (often feigned) by which a speaker appears uncertain as to what he should think, say, or do.
*Then the steward said within himself, 'What shall I do?'" Luke 16
APOSIOPESIS: a form of ellipse by which a speaker comes to an abrupt halt, seemingly overcome by passion (fear, excitement, etc.) or modesty.
APOSTROPHE: a sudden turn from the general audience to address a specific group or person or personified abstraction absent or present.
*For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel." "Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him." Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
ARCHAISM: use of an older or obsolete form.
*Pipit sate upright in her chair Some distance from where I was sitting" T. S. Eliot, "A Cooking Egg"
ASSONANCE: repetition of the same sound in words close to each other.
*Thy kingdom come, thy will be done."
ASYNDETON: lack of conjunctions between coordinate phrases, clauses, or words.
*We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardships, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty." J. F. Kennedy, Inaugural
*But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground." Lincoln, Gettysburg Address
BRACHYLOGY: a general term for abbreviated or condensed expression, of which asyndeton and zeugma are types. Ellipse is often used synonymously. The suppressed word or phrase can usually be supplied easily from the surrounding context.
*Aeolus haec contra: Vergil, Aeneid *Non Cinnae, non Sullae longa dominatio." Tacitus, Annales I.1
CACOPHONY: harsh joining of sounds. *We want no parlay with you and your grisly gang who work your wicked will." W. Churchill
*O Tite tute Tati tibi tanta tyranne tulisti! Ennius"
CATACHRESIS: a harsh metaphor involving the use of a word beyond its strict sphere.
"I listen vainly, but with thirsty ear." MacArthur, Farewell Address
CHIASMUS: two corresponding pairs arranged not in parallels (a-b-a-b) but in inverted order (a-b-b-a); from shape of the Greek letter chi (X).
"Those gallant men will remain often in my thoughts and in my prayers always." MacArthur
*Renown'd for conquest, and in council skill'd.
CLIMAX: arrangement of words, phrases, or clauses in an order of ascending power. Often the last emphatic word in one phrase or clause is repeated as the first emphatic word of the next.
*One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." Tennyson, Ulysses
EUPHEMISM: substitution of an agreeable or at least non-offensive expression for one whose plainer meaning might be harsh or unpleasant.
"When the final news came, there would be a ring at the front door -- a wife in this situation finds herself staring at the front door as if she no longer owns it or controls it--and outside the door would be a man... come to inform her that unfortunately something has happened out there, and her husband's body now lies incinerated in the swamps or the pines or the palmetto grass, "burned beyond recognition," which anyone who had been around an air base very long (fortunately Jane had not) realized was quite an artful euphemism to describe a human body that now looked like an enormous fowl that has burned up in a stove, burned a blackish brown all over, greasy and blistered, fried, in a word, with not only the entire face and all the hair and the ears burned off, not to mention all the clothing, but also the hands and feet, with what remains of the arms and legs bent at the knees and elbows and burned into absolutely rigid angles, burned a greasy blackish brown like the bursting body itself, so that this husband, father, officer, gentleman, this ornamentum of some mother's eye, His Majesty the Baby of just twenty-odd years back, has been reduced to a charred hulk with wings and shanks sticking out of it." Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff
HENIADYS: use of two words connected by a conjunction, instead of subordinating one to the other, to express a single complex idea.
"It sure is nice and cool today!" (for "pleasantly cool")
"I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications." Psalms 116
HYPALLAGE: ("exchanging") transferred epithet; grammatical agreement of a word with another word which it does not logically qualify. More common in poetry.
*Exegi monumentum aere perennius regalique situ pyramidum altius, Horace" - Odes III.30
HYPERBATON: separation of words which belong together, often to emphasize the first of the separated words or to create a certain image. *Speluncam Dido dux et Troianus eandem Vergil" Aeneid 4.124, 165
HYPERBOLE: exaggeration for emphasis or for rhetorical effect.
*My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should got to praise
Thine eyes and on thine forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest."
Andrew Marvell, "To His Coy Mistress"
HYSTERON PROTERON ("later-earlier"): inversion of the natural sequence of events, often meant to stress the event which, though later in time, is considered the more important.
"Put on your shoes and socks!"
IRONY: expression of something which is contrary to the intended meaning; the words say one thing but mean another.
"Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man." Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
LITOTES: understatement, for intensification, by denying the contrary of the thing being affirmed. (Sometimes used synonymously with meiosis.)
"A few unannounced quizzes are not inconceivable."
"War is not healthy for children and other living things. "
"One nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day." (meiosis)
METONYMY: substitution of one word for another which it suggests.
*He is a man of the cloth. "
"The pen is mightier than the sword."
"By the sweat of thy brow thou shalt eat thy bread."
ONOMATOPOEIA: use of words to imitate natural sounds; accommodation of sound to sense. "At tuba terribili sonitu taratantara dixit." "The bumblebees buzzed about the daffodils, bzzzz."
OXYMORON: apparent paradox achieved by the juxtaposition of words which seem to contradict one another.
"I must be cruel only to be kind." - Shakespeare, Hamlet
PARADOX: an assertion seemingly opposed to common sense, but that may yet have some truth in it.
"What a pity that youth must be wasted on the young." George Bernard Shaw
PARAPROSDOKIAN: surprise or unexpected ending of a phrase or series.
"He was at his best when the going was good." - Alistair Cooke on the Duke of Windsor
"There but for the grace of God -- goes God." Churchill
PARONOMASIA: use of similar sounding words; often etymological word-play.
"...culled cash, or cold cash, and then it turned into a gold cache." E.L. Doctorow, Billy Bathgate
"Thou art Peter (Greek petros), and upon this rock (Greek petra) I shall build my church." Matthew 16
"The dying Mercutio: Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man. Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
PERSONIFICATION: attribution of personality to an impersonal thing.
"England expects every man to do his duty." Lord Nelson
PLEONASM: use of superfluous or redundant words, often enriching the thought.
"No one, rich or poor, will be excepted."
"Ears pierced while you wait!"
"I have seen no stranger sight since I was born."
POLYSYNDETON: the repetition of conjunctions in a series of coordinate words, phrases, or clauses.
"I said, 'Who killed him?' and he said, 'I don't know who killed him but he's dead all right," and it was dark and there was water standing in the street and no lights and windows broke and boats all up in the town and trees blown down and everything all blown and I got a skiff and went out and found my boat where I had her inside Mango Bay and she was all right only she was full of water." Hemingway, After the Storm
PRAETERITIO (=PARAlEIPSIS): pretended omission for rhetorical effect.
"That part of our history detailing the military achievements which gave us our several possessions ... is a theme too familiar to my listeners for me to dilate on, and I shall therefore pass it by." - Thucydides, "Funeral Oration"
"Let us make no judgment on the events of Chappaquiddick, since the facts are not yet all in." A political opponent of Senator Edward Kennedy
PROLEPSIS: the anticipation, in adjectives or nouns, of the result of the action of a verb; also, the positioning of a relative clause before its antecedent.
"Consider the lilies of the field how they grow."
SYLLEPSIS: use of a word with two others, with each of which it is understood differently.
"We must all hang together or assuredly we will all hang separately." Benjamin Franklin
SYNCHYSIS: interlocked word order.
SYNECDOCHE: understanding one thing with another; the use of a part for the whole, or the whole for the part. (A form of metonymy.) "Give us this day our daily bread." - Matthew 6
"I should have been a pair of ragged claws Scuttling across the floors of silent seas." T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
"The U.S. won three gold medals." (Instead of, The members of the U.S. boxing team won three gold medals.)
SYNESIS (=constructio ad sensum): the agreement of words according to logic, and not by the grammatical form; a kind of anacoluthon.
"For the wages of sin is death." Romans 6
"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them." Acts 6
TAUTOLOGY: repetition of an idea in a different word, phrase, or sentence.
"With malice toward none, with charity for all." Lincoln, Second Inaugural
ZEUGMA: two different words linked to a verb or an adjective which is strictly appropriate to only one of them.
"Nor Mars his sword, nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory."
A figure of speech uses language in a non-literal senses, such that the intended meaning is not as actually written.
Hyperbole: Extravagant exaggeration
Irony: A trope that involves incongruity between what is expected and what occurs
Kenning: Conventional metaphoric name for something, used esp. in Old English and Old Norse poetry
Metaphor: A figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity
    Dead or frozen metaphor: A metaphor that has occurred so often that it has become a new meaning of the expression (e.g., 'he is a snake' may once have been a metaphor but after years of use it has died and become a new sense of the word 'snake')
    Mixed metaphor: Expression in which two or more metaphors are confused
    Synesthetic metaphor: A metaphor that exploits a similarity between experiences in different sense modalities
Metonymy: Substituting the name of an attribute or feature for the name of the thing itself (as in 'they counted heads')
Oxymoron: Conjoining contradictory terms (as in 'deafening silence')
Periphrasis: A style that involves indirect ways of expressing things
Personification: Representing an abstract quality or idea as a person or creature
Prosopopoeia: see personification
Simile: A figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds (usually formed with 'like' or 'as')
Synechdoche: Substituting a more inclusive term for a less inclusive one or vice versa
Zeugma: Use of a word to govern two or more words though appropriate to only one. Syllepsis is a type of zeugma, where a word is used to govern two or more words though agreeing in number or case etc. with only one.


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