How Do You Answer Analogies Without Sounding Pretentious?


Quick Answer

Hints of pretension often arise when the speaker makes reference to obscure or specific words or things with the unspoken assumption that the listener can recognize them, even if this is obviously not the case. To avoid appearing pretentious, strive to use simple, common terms familiar to everyone.

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Full Answer

In addition to being a way to clarify complex situation by comparing them to well-known objects or things analogies often appear on standardized tests as a means of testing your understanding of relevant concepts. When coming up with or answering an analogy without condescension, it is important to remember to put the concept you are trying to get across in terms that are familiar to everyone and that appear often in everyday life.

An example of this is an analogy from Henry Kissinger: "Withdrawal of U.S. troops will become like salted peanuts to the American public; the more U.S. troops come home, the more will be demanded."

Conversely, an analogy that may appear pretentious is: "DJing is akin to growing orchids; crowds are sensitive systems that can swiftly perish if the DJ has not gauged their mood before intervening." This analogy relies on an understanding of two relatively obscure topics of which the general public may not have knowledge, lending the analogy an air of superiority.

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