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Style Chapter 4: Analogies
vandanagoyal wrote in visionindia2047
 Using analogies in your writing can be very tricky.
They can make a difficult or abstract idea easier to understand. But if the example is not chosen well or the comparison is stretched too far, they can make the writing even more complicated and obscure.
Analogies should be used sparingly and only if you think they will help you communicate your idea better. Certain things should be kept in mind, however:
  • The example chosen should be sensible and sensitive. It should not offend anyone or any group of people.
  • Comparison should be drawn to situations the reader is likely to have experienced. For example if you ask the reader to think as a NASA scientist or as an aboriginal in Australia, it will not work. A good analogy should explain an unfamiliar subject by comparing it with a familiar one.
  • They should be short. Readers do not have too much patience.
  • They should only be used to launch or introduce the idea.  Continued comparisons can be irritating. Do not get carried away with your example.
  • They should never be used just to lend weight to the writing but only if they are genuinely needed.
  • They should be interesting, creative and fresh to capture the readers' imagination.
  • They can also be used to put humor in the writing. Like ,' A politician is like a banana : yellow in color, thick skinned and seldom straight.'

Stay away from cliched phrases for comparisons. They are dead and do not create any image in readers' mind.

Here is a comment on celebrity New York Times columnist Thomas Friedmans book World Is Flat by Matt Taibbi that should dissuade any writer from over indulgence in analogies.

©2008 VisionIndia2047


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