How to Answer Word Analogy Questions Part 2

This is the second post in the Word Analogy Tutorial Series. In the previous post, we have discussed a double word analogy question. In this post, we are going to look at a single word analogy question and discuss how to answer it. In single word analogy, we are just looking for one word, not a pair of words.

Consider the example below.

Question: [ ____ : launch] [breakfast:lunch]


a. sandwich
b. dinner
c. eggs
d. countdown


One of the best ways to answer analogy questions is to know the meaning of the words. If you do not know the meaning of the words, then it is likely that you will just have to rely on your best guess. That is why it is important to always improve your vocabulary by reading, writing, etc.

In the example above, I think we all understand the meaning of lunch and breakfast, so we only need to know about “launch.” Well, launch is not really a difficult word. Companies  launch products, scientist launch rockets. So, to launch means to start something (start a product, start a rocket so it can take off). Now, that we know the meaning of all the words, we analyze what goes into the blank.

First, it is quite tempting to choose sandwich and eggs because they are related to breakfast and lunch. However, choosing sandwich or eggs would mean that “launch” should be strongly related to them as breakfast relates to lunch. Looking closely, it is easly to see there is none. So, it seems that (a) and (c) are not the correct answer. Therefore, we are left with dinner (b) and countdown (d).

Let’s try putting dinner in the blank. Well, it has some connection. You probably have dinner if you launch something. But then, breakfast and lunch are both ‘eating events’ and so there is no connection between the launch and dinner. Launch is not necessarily an eating event!

[dinner: launch] [breakfast:lunch]

Remember that we are looking for the relationship between [breakfast:lunch] that is the same as the relationship of [dinner:launch] and looks like we can’t find any. Can you think of one?

Now let’s put countdown. Can you see the relationship between countdown and launch?

 [countdown: launch] [breakfast:lunch]

When there is a launch, there is usually a countdown. And when does the countdown happens? A countdown happens before a launch. Is this relationship connected to [breakfast:lunch]. Oh yes, breakfast happens before lunch. So, we can see that the relationship between the pair words is the order in which they happen.

Hmmm, you can probably argue that [dinner:launch] is also a correct answer since it is possible to have dinner before a launch. Yes, it’s possible, but it’s not absolute. Meaning, we can have dinner after a launch. But breakfast ALWAYS happens before dinner. And nobody does a countdown after a launch — it’s ALWAYS before. So, the correct answer is (d) for countdown.

There are many relationships that can exist between pair of words, so it is impossible to discuss them all. However, in the next post, we are going to discuss the common relationships that are easy to spot. So share this post and keep posted.

Credit: 501 Word Analogy

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