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What is 'Analogy'?

Analogy can be defined as:
  1. Partial likeness or agreement to (or with something, between two things).
  2. Process of reasoning between parallel cases: argue by analogy (by Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English: A. S. Hornby).
For example, consider the following sentence: Pillow cover is to pillow is as is to shirt is to boy.
This is an analogy. This can be represented symbolically as ‘pillow cover : pillow : : shirt : boy’ or ‘pillow cover : pillow = shirt : boy’.
In the present topic, we discuss some analogy problems related to numbers. In number analogy questions, three numbers and a blank are given. The blank can be on either side of the symbol ‘: :’ (or ‘=’). This blank represents a missing number. We are required to recognise the relationship between the two numbers given on one side of the symbol : : (or = ). The missing number should bear a similar relation with the number given on the other side of the symbol ‘: :’ (or ‘=’). We are required to select appropriate number from the given options.
Two numbers can be related with each other in a number of ways. Hence, analogy problems cannot be solved unless options are given. In order to understand this aspect clearly, let us consider one example and discuss.
2 : 4 : : 3 : ?
In this example, first we are required to find the relationship between 2 and 4.
Then we are required to find a number which bears the same relationship with 3.
2 + 2 = 4 3 + 2 = 5
2 × 2 = 4 3 × 2 = 6
22 = 4 32 = 9
23 – 22 = 4 33 – 32 = 18
So, in the above illustration, any one of these numbers 5, 6, 9 or 18 can replace the question mark.
In other words, all these numbers are correct answers.
From this discussion, it is clear that multiple answers exist for analogy problems.
The options contain only one of the correct answers.
We should identify that correct option.

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