“Analogies work because they make the unfamiliar familiar; they help the mind navigate
new terrain by making it resemble terrain we already know.” - Fast Company

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Issue 27   May, 2015

DFreelance writer Sue Hornerear <<First Name>>,
How do you quickly explain a new or complex idea? Don’t tell readers, show them! This issue of Wordnerdery shares some examples of analogies that quickly show meaning to aid understanding.
Sue's signature

Get an 'aha' moment with analogy

'Band-aids on a broken leg' + more expressive writingVivid images in your writing are the fastest way to give your readers that "aha!" moment of understanding. Common tools are analogies like metaphors and similes, which compare this new thing to that quite different thing.
  • A metaphor expresses the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar (“The river snakes its way…”).
  • A simile compares two unlike things, usually linked by like or as (“The river is like a snake…”).
I always read with an eye out for great analogies and expressive writing. Here are some found recently:

“Focusing too tightly on the details in a report can cause teams to add many band-aids to a design that’s really suffering from a broken leg.” – Web usability expert Jakob Nielsen

“Coffee is the liquid comma, period and exclamation mark punctuating our daily rhythms.” – Writer Natalie MacLean describes Starbucks’ barista training

"[Music] migrated from the 8-track to the CD, and now we're on MP3. This is the MP3 of cannoli." – Writer Jill Krasny in “The Cannoli King Rises Again

“I imagined myself spewing forth gorgeous text with the ease of water spilling over stone into the Trevi Fountain basin.” – Author and speaker Ann Handley on her tiny house

“My own BlackBerry keypad is worn as smooth as a river pebble… Dare to question the role of technology, though, and you’re seen as the kind of person who uses a potato for a clock.” – Writer Elizabeth Renzetti, talking about going without a cellphone

“Despite 11 years' experience and innumerable clippings in high profile outlets, a company…recently demanded that I take a writing test … the equivalent of a veteran surgeon being asked to stitch up a banana before seeing a patient.” – Writer Leif Pettersen on why he gave up travel writing

What great analogies and expressive writing have you found? Hit "reply" and tell me about them! And let me know if you'd like some help crafting analogies for your business.

Images: Band-aid by "gubgub" and Sue by Rob Jeanveau of IABC/Golden Horseshoe.


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