Honesty is to distaste as color is to grisaille
Laughter is to annoyance as a chortle to a sigh
Picasso was to Matisse as Mozart to Salieri
Broccoli is to spinach as apple pie, to cherry
Captain is to general as corporal is to sergeant
Ice cream is to breakfast as David was to giant
Adorno was to Horkheimer as Porky Pig was to Elmer Fudd
These analogies of mine are one and all, a dud:
I gots dem low down mean old SSAT analogy
Schools, and corporations, today, don’t oppress with sense-making. Quite the opposite: the point is getting people to Stop Making Sense.
There was for me, the slant of light in geometry class, where Father Eck (of the Viatorian order) made sense out of geometry. But the common experience of school and corporation is to destroy this: to teach mathematical analysis as a set of rules accompanied by sarcastic and cruel remarks, inspired by drill instructors in movies, about how so very few of you men will “get” this, probably because the D.I. teacher has in no wise mastered the basics, and covers this fact up with rage.
In more recent years, this use of senselessness in the service of power has turned to various New Age modes of thinking in which the student who demands some sense is told that she’s insufficiently socialized and needs to “get a life”.
These vectors happen to converge on unmentionable scenes of abuse.
Here is an example of remystification in which it is claimed that SSAT (and formerly SAT) analogies don’t make sense.
Pseudo-democratic rage against tests takes place in a historical vacuum. Tests were defined in order to open careers to talents, but this door is closing, in some small part due to the elimination of genuine problem-solving in tests and the replacement of problem-solving by rote memory, conventional answers, formulaic answers and overall a dull alienation.
This post analyzes each of the questions analyzed in an essay by one Jesse Fuchs titled, “The Worst Test in the World”. Mr Fuchs claims that none of these terribly hard analogy and synonym questions have a sensible explanation, and that this proves that analogy questions are bad and awful and mean, and the SSAT is “the worst test in the world”.
He is wrong, because as we will see the following guidelines can help us with analogy questions, synonym questions, and reading comprehension:
1. On a test select the best.
2. Tests are always unfair. So is life, you young brutes, and education prepares you for life, right? Right.
3. Multiple choice answers to analogies and synonyms can be ranked from best to worst, and ranking them is excellent practice, as is making up your own analogy questions and trying them out on your Mom.
4. The “best-ness” of an analogy question answer is your selection of a rule from many different incompatible (conflicting) rules that creates the closest “fit”. This is usually that you need the least number of words to explain your fit.
5. There’s no such thing as “one sensible rule” in life or on a test.
6. Always be test prepping. Read outside schoolwork and keep a vocabulary notebook.
Let us begin doing perhaps the hardest, if not the worst, SSAT test in the whole world.
Cage is to zoo as
Trap is to jungle
Pantry is to house
Net is to aquarium
Cell is to jail
Corral is to prairie
This one is nonproblematic. Traps, pantries and corrals are in jungles, houses and on prairies but they are accidental features of the jungle, the house, and the corral. There are virgin jungles without man’s traps. There are virgin prairies without corrals. There are pantries without houses. But in the conventional sense (where convention controls meaning for real speakers) all jails have cells. Sure, it might make sense to create a New Model prison or New Model jail without cells but in terms of conventions and standards, all jails have cells.
Some test preppers call this “conventional thinking”, and complain that it discriminates against the visionary student who, with shining eyes, looks to a future jail without cells, perhaps a park or greensward where the incarcerated could prance about like fauns in Arcady: but having been incarcerated for brief periods, I’d hazard that I, were I incarcerated in such a place, would prance right out.
I call it the modal logic of ordinary discourse: if it doesn’t have cells it ain’t, in ordinary Received English, a jail. It is at best a drunk tank.
“Net is to aquarium” is the worst choice because the net is outside and not in the aquarium.
Besides simply writing your reasoning down, diagrams can also clarify analogies: note the simplicity of the diagram for transforming “cage/zoo” to “cell/jail”.
It often makes sense to rank answers from best to worst:
Cell is to jail
Pantry is to house: this is second best (and should be selected if a better answer is not available) because a pantry forms part of a house
Trap is to jungle: Corral is to prairie: these have the same rank because they both defeat the ecological purpose of jungles and prairies
Net is to aquarium: the worst
Uproar is to silence as
Confusion is to turmoil
Motion is to fixed
Rage is to forbearance
Whirlpool is to stream
Tornado is to breeze
“Confusion is to turmoil” is easily eliminated because the two words are synonyms whereas uproar is almost antonymic with respect to silence, but then the four remaining possibilities all use antonyms. Reject “whirlpool/stream” and “tornado/breeze” because numerically speaking, a stream flows at a certain rate and wind in a breeze has a nonzero velocity: furthermore, a quiet stream can form a raging torrent downstream (if you have white water rafted you’ll know what I mean) and a breeze on a hot afternoon in Kansas can kick up later into a tornado.
Whereas forbearance as a virtue throws away all rage. The psychological issue here is that we no longer teach an ideal ethics, which may be a good thing, but modern education schools us to find the flaw in the best and merit in the worst. Therefore we don’t see that unlike a breeze or a stream, forbearance has no rage and can’t turn into rage. A merely suppressed rage isn’t forbearance.
Quack is to doctor as
Charlatan is to impostor
Pretender is to monarch
Defendant is to prosecutor
Arbitrator is to judge
Professional is to amateur
You have to see that the two terms are antonyms. Suppose you didn’t know that a “quack” was originally what professional doctors, who’d established themselves as a profession, called people without their credentials, you still should get the sense that somebody whose name sounds like a duck is the opposite of a serious doctor (in the world of the test makers, “doctor” is serious and good).
Reject charlatan/impostor. “Charlatan” sounds bad, doesn’t it, and you know that an imposter is a fake. Well, now you do: remember to always be test prepping.
Although a defendant’s interests are opposed to that of the prosecutor (the prosecutor in American and British law is supposed to find the defendant guilty) the words aren’t antonyms because they identify two smallish sets of people who play roles in a courtroom.
An arbitrator is a replacement for a judge: arbitration in fact is an attempt to save legal costs in disputes by having nonlawyers and nonjudges decide cases. Therefore, arbitrator to judge is like nurse to doctor. I know that sounds patronizing to nurses, but the SSAT makers have to reflect conventional attitudes in order to test your knowledge of English as it is spoken, and we put our conventional attitudes into speech.
Professional/amateur are like quack/doctors antonyms, in fact they are more antonymic because you’re either a professional or an amateur whereas you can be a “patient” and thus not a quack or a doctor. This leaves pretender/monarch.
Money is to tree as yen is to
The test maker, whose evil purpose is to cause people to fail so that society can leave some kids behind (this being the objective purpose of education as long as we prefer to build toys for war, and start wars where the smart people get to stay in the rear with the gear) wants you to get confused here, because you may think of the proverb “money doesn’t grow on trees” if you know that yen, here, means Japanese money.
Strangely the test makers didn’t confuse you with another meaning of “yen”: a wish, a yearning (yen is related to this word), a hankering, cacoethes or a Jones (“I have a Jones for a Haagen Daz”: American English). Consider yourself to have gotten a lucky break.
The task is always to find the best answer. This means that in a different version of the same question “bush” might be best although there is no reason to downsize tree to bush just because money becomes Japanese money: a bush is not a type of tree except in a scientific sense. However, the test makers, any more than they can promise fairness (life being unfair and school being a preparation for life) will not make the pathway to the best answer perfectly neat.
The best answer is elm, and this makes sense, doesn’t it? Here, we step down one category. From tree to elm tree and from money to Japanese money. But remember: some questions might step down one category for one word, and two for another.
…Lincoln began in a low tone of voice-as if he were used to speaking outdoors and was afraid of speaking too loud. He said, “Mr. Cheerman”, instead of “Mr. Chairman,” and employed many other words with an old-fashioned pronunciation. I said to myself, “Old fellow, you won’t do; it’s all very well for the Wild West, but this will never go down in New York.”
When the speaker says, “Old fellow, you won’t do; it’s all very well for the Wild West, but this will never go down in New York,” it can be inferred that he believes
New Yorkers have different beliefs than Westerners
New Yorkers have higher standards than Westerners
New Yorkers are more sophisticated than Westerners
Lincoln will not travel to New York
New Yorkers will not understand Lincoln’s accent
This requires careful attention to colloquial American speech. The excerpt is from American speech of the 1860s but some turns of phrase, such as “you won’t do” remain in common use.
Americans are pragmatic. They don’t know if you can know the whole truth and instead think that what works is truth. The American philosopher William James said that truth is usefulness.
Therefore, for the same reason overall Americans spell “colour” as “color”, they want things that “do” stuff without having to fully define “stuff”.
Lincoln was a smart but self-educated lawyer who also was widely read. He met the standards of New York educationally but talked funny, a problem students sometimes feel they share. It’s obvious from the passage that the hearers understood “Cheerman”, that’s why they were amused enough to call Lincoln “old fellow”.
There’s nothing in the passage to indicate that New Yorkers have different beliefs from Westerners; Lincoln is invited to speak because his beliefs were the same as Eastern members of the Republican party. Nor does anything indicate that Lincoln won’t go to New York.
Higher standards, or more sophisticated? Lincoln met the standards because he’s invited to speak, but sophisticated New Yorkers didn’t it is clear talk like country people!
Paradoxically here the student who like Lincoln reads for pleasure will do better; in particular, a student who’s read a Life of Lincoln for school or for pleasure will ace this question, because he will identify the speaker as William Seward, a New York fancy pants pol who thought he could use Lincoln, and wound up in awe of him while serving Abe as Secretary of State, and buying Alaska.
Unfair? Not at all: students who crack a book, even as Lincoln did, get more out of school.
In fact critics of the SSAT like Fuchs will on the one hand complain that the student’s knowledge is unfairly discounted or ignored and on the other that you have to know too much. This is convenient but fallacious logic.
Synonym for pathetic
Since “pathetic” is an adjective, “guidance”, “trash”, and “direction” are ruled out. Be careful, however, with using parts of speech to rule words out. This is because there is no simple one-to-one correspondence between a word and one part of speech, even for uncomplicated words like “red” (“Red is a color” uses “red” as a noun, whereas “pass me the red envelope” uses red as an adjective). “Poor” itself can be an uncountable noun as in “Marat, we’re poor [adjective], and the poor [noun, seen to be such because it’s preceded by an article] stay poor” (Peter Weiss, The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade…I didn’t make that play’s title up).
So which is correct, “wretched” or “poor”? The problem with “poor” is that (as Weiss’ play has it!) that “poor” is a more permanent condition. In the play about the French Revolution, the poor complain that as the “wretched of the earth” they can’t raise capital for a small business so stay poor. Sure, even if different people are rich and poor and different times, the poor would stay poor as a class but not on an individual level.
“Wretched” is the best choice because it has no such connotation: a Yuppie can be or feel wretched because Starbuck’s is closed, but stops being wretched if Pacific Coffee is open.
Synonym for exquisite
In many of the analogy and synonym questions, you can start by comparing the alternatives systematically, while postponing hard cases as follows.
Compare “precise” to “noiseless”. Which one of these two words is closer to “exquisite”? Precise is. Compare it to miniature: it still is best choice, isn’t it?. Ask yourself here if all exquisite things are miniature: a huge Ming vase is still exquisite, and, you often find the two adjectives together as in “an exquisite miniature painting” which means that they supplement each other’s meaning.
Oops: what about “splendid”? Underline it and move on because it looks tough.
“Precise” is closer to “exquisite” than reticent because “reticent” means, approximately, shy.
Remember that there are no true synonyms in the English language. You may know already that words can differ in connotation (the emotional associations) while having the same denotation (the meaning in the world). But it’s more complicated because a word not only has a denotation (the things it means) and a connotation: it also has rules for its usage.
Consider “dead” versus “deceased” (where deceased is usually defined as “dead”). “Deceased” has a more formal connotation than “dead”. But furthermore, “deceased” in actual usage applies only to human beings because it’s a legal word, and law doesn’t apply to wild animals. A plant or animal is not “deceased” unless we humorously, or because of our affection for it, decide to give it a funeral!
“Deceased” cannot always replace dead without a change in meaning, or intention.
“Reticent” means tending to act shy but has a more formal connotation than “shy”. Usage wise, “he is reticent” means he behaves in a way that is shy. But if Joe behaves in a way that’s shy, he may do so for a different reason than shyness. For example, he may be a reticent bank robber who acts shy. To be shy is to have a feeling.
Your analysis has narrowed the possibilities down to only one “hard case”: exquisite versus splendid. But if there is only one hard case, this is the answer!
Synonym for furious
It is almost always true (where it is unwise to try to generalize) that when you’re asked for a synonym the synonym needs to be the same part of speech. However, some words (notably the words for colours) can belong to more than one part of speech: “red” is a noun in “red is my favorite colour” and an adjective in “red balloon”.
Fortunately, here, “furious” is always an adjective. This eliminates “storm” and “trash” which are always nouns (remember to eliminate words that belong to one part of speech: “upset” can be a noun in informal speech, especially about sports, as in “their upset upset the fans”, an adjective in “upset victory”, and an verb in “don’t upset your Father”).
Move through the remaining words, starting with furious/upset. The pair furious/sneaky is far more far apart than furious/upset, so move on, keeping furious/upset, to fierce.
That’s the surprise,right there, and you have found it, although SSAT tutors and English teachers are furiously and fiercely upset bad crazy nuts about this sneaky and “unfair” question, as if tests like life itself are supposed to be fair.
Yes, the answer is “fierce” because it is the best of a bad set of answers. But by “bad” I don’t mean that the test is bad, I mean your job is to find the best answer at all times.
The problem here is that “upset” as an adjective is on a scale from “upset”, to “irritated”, to “angry”, to “furious”: see Chuckie’s moods below:
However, “fierce” doesn’t belong on this scale because it doesn’t, unlike “upset”, irritated, “angry” and “furious”, refer to a combination of mood and behavior whereas “fierce” refers to behavior. This is because we’re more likely to call an animal “fierce” than “upset”, “angry” or “furious”, although at times we will call an animal one of these things.
Normally, this would cause us to reject “fierce”. But the distance between “upset” and furious is two steps and in very few sentences can you replace “furious” by “upset” and keep the same meaning. Whereas in “he was a fierce player on the pitch” you can change “fierce” to “furious”!
The problem is that in analogies and synonyms, you have to choose not only the best word but the best rule from multiple sets of rules that conflict. But, this prepares you to use different reading strategies in school, and to figure out situations of multiple conflicting rules in life.
Synonym for barrage
Do the part of speech analysis: barrage is almost always a noun although a case can be made for “to barrage me with requests” where it is a (rare) verb: attack is a noun or a verb: throws is usually a verb because it has person, tense, and number (third person singular present tense), although “throws” can be reinterpreted as a noun with a plural number: flood is a noun or a verb as in “to flood the Internet with spam”, depot is a noun only: defect is a noun or a somewhat unusual verb with a different meaning from “flaw” (a synonym for “defect”), that means “to disavow citizenship in a country and take up residence or citizenship in another”.
This is a complicated picture, so let’s “color code” the set of words as follows: nouns are black, verbs are blue.
The problem here is that World War I, so-called the Great War in Britain, changed the language, and prior to WWI, a barrage was exclusively an artificial bar in a river for purposes of flood control. Since neither a defect nor to defect (with different stress in pronunciation as shown above) has much to do with artillery or flood control, and since a depot is only part of an artillery unit (being the place for artillery stores, as well as other types of military stores), and an artillery barrage was only part of an attack (and usually futile), flood is the closest choice.
But, you may say, how am I supposed to know the meanings of words in use before World War I? The answer is that if you expect to read at prep school and university level, you’d better. The syntax of “artillery” and flood is the same (and this pair shares this feature only with “attack”, which is too broad, and in many texts said to be preceded by a meaningless, if noisy, artillery barrage) and once you look at all the meanings, flood is closest although a barrage controls a flood and is not the flood.
Synonym for plight
Whew. This is easy after the artillery barrage. The best choices are “danger” and “predicament” and the problem with “danger” is that a plight or predicament need not involve danger.
Synonym for jeer
Since “jeer” seems to be omanopoetic and to have the sense in the sound, the test taker might choose hoot. Here, the problem is that actual usage doesn’t use “jeer” to refer to noises people make. “Cheer” is used, omanopoetically, more often to refer to collective crowd sounds. Therefore “ridicule” is best.
Synonym for congenial
Here, Fuchs, the original collector of these hard questions points out that they are trying to trip-up students who have heard the word “congenital”, perhaps owing to a parent’s illness, and who might choose “coronary” or “born with”. “Together” tries to confuse the student who’s seen words such as “conglomerate” in which the “con” prefix means “combined”.
However, it’s not “unfair” to students to try to trick them, fair and square, any more than life is unfair.
Spinach is to milk as
Fudge is to cola
Wheat is to flour
Cabbage is to kraut
Mineral is to vitamin
Pitcher is to milker
This is one of the most difficult examples. It shows most clearly that the student has not only to choose the best answer in hard analogies, he has to choose the best rule. Here, nothing makes sense, the student looks in vain for a vegetarian meal including a nutritious solid food and something good to wash it down, and then, is intended, by the “unfairness” of the test, to decide that spinach contains a lot of minerals and milk has a lot of vitamins.
But this is a terrible answer, since spinach contains all sorts of vitamins and milk is the source of calcium, a mineral! It might be the best answer, and therefore the right answer, but we need to look closer.
The student has to think structurally and apply a structural rule, and only the rule that “replacing the two words in a sentence about eating yields a different result that means in the same way”. You can replace “my dinner was spinach and milk” with “my dinner was fudge and cola”, even though you have to suspend your judgement as to whether the second dinner is nutritious.
The problem is that “structuralism” is introduced as a way of doing literary theory and criticism only at university if at all. The student will have to be one of those thoughtful people who has played with language, making structural changes. Most people don’t do this, but most people aren’t qualified to take the SSAT for admission to elite private schools.
“Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast!” – “Jules”, Pulp Fiction
Song is to singer as
Bell is to ringer
View is to viewer
Smoke is to smoker
Fire is to cooker
Light is to lighter
It would be nice if “speech is to speaker” were an answer, because it would be better than most other possibilities, and all of the above. The phrase “song is to singer” sends us on a wild goose chase because we think that the rule in effect is “product to producer”.
In the goose chase we reject “view is to viewer” because the viewer doesn’t produce the view outside of certain types of “idealist” philosophy. But then we get Three Bad Answers. Singers intend to produce songs, but smokers usually inhale (they are not in the business of creating smoke). Cookers aren’t meant to produce fire. The best of the Three Bad Answers is “light to lighter”, but lighters are inanimate objects.
Recall from the above that the SSAT test maker selects a rule which gives best fit. The rule here is that while the ringer doesn’t produce the bell, the sound is a very close match, and matches in a way that is better than the Three Bad Answers. Any one of those answers might be the correct (the best) answer in a set of alternatives that didn’t include the sound match.
Clam is to calm as
Oyster is to quiet
Sent is to tenis
Scallop is to doldrum
Fish is to feel
Carp is to crap
“Oyster is to quiet”. No. And this is because you want closest distance given the rule used, and oysters have no meaningful relationship to silence, any more than clams to calm. The best answer is the one which changes the order of two letters. Yes, you have to figure out the rule.
Rose is to plant as
Pine is to tree
Daisy is to flower
Emerald is to gem
Dog is to animal
Ice is to water
When you read the first analogy, you tentatively decide (remembering that any such decision may have to be changed) that the issue here is types of things.
But simple subtype to type reasoning gives multiple answers, all of them just as good: a pine is a tree, a daisy is a flower, an emerald is a gem, and a dog is an animal. “Ice is to water” is wrong because ice, you may know from chemistry class, is exactly the same chemical compound as water: ice is a state of water.
Here you are meant to see that rose to plant jumps an obvious category, and “daisy is to flower” is your clue. It sounds “better” than “rose is to plant” and isn’t the answer.
“Dog” jumps over “mammal” on its way to animal in the same way “rose” jumps over “flower” on its way to plant.
Wily is to cunning as
Crafty is to handy
Clever is to gloomy
Sneaky is to congenial
Aggressive is to combative
Feisty is to banal
There is no guarantee that the parts of speech will be the same: here “aggressive” and “combative” are adjectives as is “wily”. The trick is that a word can belong to multiple parts of speech, depending on its position in a sentence, whether it has tense, and whether it has, clearly, plural or singular number.
The student here has to know that “cunning” is used both an adjective and a noun, and since it is an adjective when it appears before a noun or after “verbs of state” such as is or seems, “aggressive is to combative” parallels wily/cunning because both are synonyms.
“Crafty is to handy” is the second best choice because while the two words are close in meaning, “crafty” means tricky (as does wily and cunning) but “handy” isn’t close to “crafty, cunning, and wily”). If “aggressive/combative” wasn’t there, “craft/handy” would be the best answer and therefore, in this hypothetical situation, the right answer.
The rule? “Find the synonym in a language where there are no perfect synonyms”. Even such close “synonyms” such as “dead” and “deceased” as discussed in the grey box above.
Spiral is to curve as
Swirl is to cone
Twist is to pyramid
Helix is to triangle
Coil is to cylinder
Screw is to arc
Since SSAT verbal isn’t SSAT math, use the ordinary meanings of words to answer questions with math terminology. A screw is a series of arcs in space.
Morgue is to corpse as
Refrigerator is to cantaloupe
Library is to book
Hospital is to nurse
Warehouse is to automobile
Church is to pew
A morgue is for corpses: a library is for books. The problem, of course, is that modern libraries overemphasize multimedia and in some of them, the librarians or their managers are so contemptuous of mere books that many of them sell books super cheap rather than find space for them. A refrigerator is not for cantaloupes, a hospital is not a place for nurses to live, only some warehouses contain cars, and a church is not for pews.
Melon is to felon as
Mangle is to tangle
Bunny is to funny
Merry is to ferry
Cringe is to fringe
Mango is to tango
Clearly, the analogues have to rhyme, but they all rhyme. The best answer, “merry/ferry” alliterates melon/felon. You have to know two common poetic techniques to crack the question. You probably know all about rhymes, but most quality English classes will define alliteration. Or, the bright student will be curious and will have learned about alliteration on his own.
“Common sense” and “following the rules” aren’t enough. You have to have uncommon insight, you have to know that rules are changeable and made to be broken, and you have had to be inquisitive before and not after the test, using your own time to visit the library, and reading Dad’s grown up magazines and newspapers, perhaps even his Playboys.
Forward is to backward as
Advance is to return
Charge is to quit
Climb is to falter
Lift is to drop
Assault is to retreat
There are two good answers here: advance/return and assault/retreat. The problem with advance/return is that return is weaker than advance in the sense that it is used in far more contexts than “to move ahead, to go back”.
Purebred is to hybrid as
Thoroughbred is to horse
Donkey is to mule
Royalty is to nobility
Pedigree is to mongrel
Registered is to lineage
Pedigree/mongrel is better than donkey/mule . There is a part of speech change going from “purebred” (adjective) to “pedigree” (a noun meaning a known lineage). If you add a missing “d” to “pedigree” you get an exact parallel of nouns which can also be used as adjectives.
“Donkey/mule” isn’t as good a fit, because these are examples of purebred and hybrid. “Donkey/mule” would be the best answer if “pedigree/mongrel” weren’t an alternative answer. To see this, compare how much thought-work it takes to get from “donkey/mule” to “purebred/hybrid”: “hmm, a donkey and a horse give a mule which is an example of a hybrid, and I will now forget that mules can be purebred or not depending on whether we know their Mommy and Daddy” versus “hmm, change the letter d”.
For hard questions, if you have the time, try these essays to see how many words you need to transform the proposed answer to the main analogy.
Program is to computer as lesson is to
A student isn’t a computer, of course. But the teacher gives the lesson. The lesson is in the book. The lesson prepares us for the test. The lesson is in the teacher’s lesson plan.
Whereas the student is provided the lesson in somewhat the same way (not exactly the same way) as a computer is useless until, metaphorically, educated and taught by the programmer.
I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. Best fit.
Prove is to grove as
Light is to might
Show is to tell
Drove is to stove
Trail is to trial
Slope is to slide
This isn’t a rhyming question because “prove” doesn’t rhyme with “stove”! It’s a letter change question because only the first letter is changed. The least amount of work is “change the first letter”. Show/tell have no relationship and is the worst answer. If light/might wasn’t an alternative answer, then drove/stove or trail/trial would be the answer: try to figure out which are best before proceeding to build your skill.
Ok, the “work” done to get from drove/stove consists of (1) change the first two letters, (2) mispronounce “prove”. Trail and trial are second best because middle letters are switched, but this is more complex than changing the first letter.
Finally, you should see that slope/slide is here (but only here) a bad answer.
Zinnia is to bouquet as
Truck is to convoy
Airplane is to formation
Carrot is to lunch
Branch is to tree
Paper is to ream
The best answer is carrot/lunch. The next best answer is branch/tree, then paper/ream, then both truck/convoy and airplane/formation seem to be equally good.
But first, we need to find the better of the two worst answers to build mastery. Truck/convoy or airplane/formation? Probably the latter because a truck convoy has a one-dimensional shape whereas a bouquet of flowers and an airplane formation are 3-D.
Here, the rule is that the piece of a whole has to be detachable normally. This eliminates branch and tree, and, strangely, paper and ream, the latter because they didn’t say “piece of paper” to make the uncountable noun “paper” countable and singular, like “zinnia”.
Parrot is to jungle as beaver is to
In fact, beavers inhabit lakes in reality as well as streams. The problem is that we’re doing English, and not natural history, and usage follows our mental pictures of the way things are. Because we think of beavers building dams, we think of streams before lakes. The question is clearly “where animals live”, and you’re not being penalized for knowing about beavers, since to understand texts in a tolerant way, you have to agree, broadly, about actual usage.
Grape is to wine as rubber is to
Wine comes from grapes: rubber comes from trees. There are only two operations needed to transform grape/wine to rubber/tree: reverse the words, and insert “come from”.
The other analogies, have we’ve already seen, can always made to fit by thinking of a rule, because language can relate anything to anything, including “shoes, and ships and sealing wax”. That’s what language is for: to be able to speak of novel things. If we didn’t have language, for example, we’d never see the relationship between “underarm spray can deodorant” and the South Pole, where the old propellents used in the former released complex and indestructible molecules which caused the ozone hole to appear over the North Pole.
The problem is that we often learn in school to “focus” and be “revelant” to a topic. This is important, but it also causes us to think of applying novel rules that we’ve thought up on the spot as just silly. But, in answering analogies, you have to be silly and creative. This at university gives us new insights into assigned texts.
From outside the university many people decry this. For example, they don’t see the relationship between Jane Austen and the slave trade because Jane Austen’s characters don’t discuss it, and journalists (that is, people who are paid to be grownups) often write articles about “the crazy things kids learn at Uni from those left-wing professors”. But, some of the fortunes, the inheritance of which drives Austen’s plots, were made in the slave trade, and it may be that her characters are silent on this because of a guilt or shame shared by their creator, a guilt and shame which became the movement, in Britain, to end slave trading.
We can in fact imagine an 18th century student failing to see the analogy between a slave and a man or a brother.
Finally, here is the comprehension question Fuchs discusses.
Even though the family name Chin means gold, it does not signify that everyone of that name is rich. Long ago, in the province of Chekiang, however, there was a certain wealthy Chin family of whom it was popularly said that its fortune was as great as its name. It seemed quite fitting, then, that when a son was born to the family, that he should be called Po-Wan, “Million” for he was certain to be worth a million pieces of gold when he came of age.
With such a happy circumstance of names, Po-Wan himself never doubted that he would have a never-ending supply of money chinking through his fingers and he spent money accordingly-not on himself, but on any unfortunate who came to his attention. He had a deep sense of compassion for anyone in distress of body or spirit; a poor man had only to hold out his hand, and Po-Wan poured gold into it; if a destitute widow and her brood of starvelings but lifted their sorrowful eyes to his, he provided them with food and lodging and friendship for the rest of their days.
In such wise, did he live that even a million gold pieces were not enough to support him. His resources were so dwindled that finally he scarcely had enough food for himself; his clothes flipped threadbare on his wasted frame, and the cold seeped into his bone marrow for lack of a fire. Still, he gave away the little money that came to him.
One day, as he scraped out half of his bowl of rice for a beggar that was even hungrier than he, he began to ponder the little money that came to him.
“Why am I so poor?” he wondered. “I have never spent extravagantly. I have never, from the day of my birth, done an evil deed. Why then am I, whose very name is A Million Pieces of Gold, no longer able to find even a copper to give to this unfortunate creature, and have only a bowl of rice to share with him?”
Each of the following words may be used to describe Po-Wan except
The story in the test offends students from China because it’s an old-fashioned example of Orientalism, which violates the writer’s rule, “write about what you know”, and describes Asia from the outside; for example, Mr. John Stuart Mill, who was probably a genius but not too smart, nonetheless wrote a whole book about India without learning India’s languages. The story tells a fable, which has two levels of meaning, because in the 17th and 18th century Europeans decided on the basis of limited contact and trade with China that the Chinese liked to tell Improving Fables. They do, but so do we all, and the Chinese also liked improper stories as well.
Manage your anger because our purpose is to ace the test.
Look at each word. Po-Wan is confused and poor at the end of the story and generous and compassionate throughout the story. He’s never miserly where this means being stingy. You didn’t have to know what “miserly” meant as long as you could guess what the other words mean.
The passage is primarily about
The origin of Po-Wan’s name
How Po-Wan lost his fortune
Po-Wan’s plan for regaining his fortune
Reasons why it is foolish to share
The meaning of names and reality
The first paragraph, only, deals with “the origin of PoWan’s name”. The story tells how PoWan lost his money but without giving a lot of detail as to how or why because it’s a fable, and fables have two levels of meaning. There’s nothing about any plan for regaining PoWan’s fortune!
This brings us to the two “best” answers: reasons why it is foolish to share, and names versus reality. “Foolish to share” is not as good because the author’s language about Po Wan’s generosity uses adjectives, such as generosity itself, with a positive charge; it is hard to say “it is bad to be generous” without appearing to contradict oneself, although some self-appointed philosophers of selfishness (notably the Russian émigré author Ayn Rand) try to express this thought; in the same way in fact as certain forms of Communism, extreme political ideologies can ruin the language and make it harder for us to understand. But, no matter what, the author isn’t trying to prove that “it is foolish to share”, and this leaves “the meaning of names and reality”. Not very satisfactory, because the passage does not discuss this philosophically in a modern sense, but old philosophers from Confucius (Master Fong Fu Zi) and Plato would tell these sorts of Improving Stories.
Which of the following is the best title for this selection?
The Significance of a Name
From Prince to Pauper
Why am I So Poor?
Rags to Riches
This follows from the preceding discussion. When answering multiple questions about one passage you have to be logically consistent.
Po-Wan believes that he should still be wealthy for each of the following reasons except
He does not buy frivolous things
He is kind
His name means A Million Pieces of Gold
He does not deserve to be poor because he helps others
He comes from a wealthy family
It is clear that PoWan is old and no longer can get any money from his parents.
It is most likely that Po-Wan will do which of the following next?
Try to figure out why he is poor
Ask the people that he has helped in the past to help him
Steal some gold to support himself and share with others
Ask his parents to give him a million more pieces of gold
Stop sharing with others so that he can again become wealthy
The answer is implied by PoWan’s question. Today, we are accustomed to stories in which a reversal of fortune in the movies becomes the basis for triumph over adversity, but in the time in which the passage is set, people didn’t have this opportunity to become wealthy. If PoWan is compassionate then he is honest, probably, and won’t steal: his parents are dead, and nothing in the passage indicates that PoWan has read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged or “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, and will resolve to stop sharing.
This ends my analysis of Mr. Fuch’s somewhat misguided essay and its questions. The only problem with analogy questions is that the student is not given, for extra credit, the opportunity to write a short essay explaining his choice. Essays would cost schools lots of money, which is made scarce in America because politicians and the upper middle class pay for ski-ing trips with money meant for school. Allowing the students to write essays, or marginalia explaining their choices would mean having to hire intellectuals of all people to decipher and grade this stuff. I would not mind doing so if it meant “no child left behind”, but the whole point of the system is, all the way down and in its black heart, leaving most kids behind.
You can overcome this system, perhaps by following my advice. And then, as a grownup you can change it.