Solve a Tough MAT Analogy by Considering Parts of Speech

Solving an analogy on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is hard enough, but if you have a plan, it can help. One method of attacking a tough MAT analogy is to examine the parts of speech for each term. By knowing the parts of speech involved, you may be able to unravel a confusing analogy.

To get you started, here’s a quick review that may bring back memories of elementary school.

  • Noun: A word that is a person, place, or thing

  • Verb: A word that means an action or occurrence

  • Adjective: A descriptive word

Any given MAT analogy contains only two parts of speech, and all the answer choices contain the same part of speech. The correct answer choice will be the same part of speech as its corresponding term in the other pair of terms.

Considering parts of speech can help you solve seemingly confusing analogies on the MAT. Here’s an example of an analogy that may look weird at first.

  1. MAN : SHIP :: _________________: POSITION

    1. (A)pose

    2. (B)manipulate

    3. (C)move

    4. (D)staff

As always, the first step is to consider whether the analogy is 1:2,3:4 or 1:3,2:4. It’s easier to rule out the 1:3,2:4 type here because the second and fourth terms are given and no clear relationship exists between ship and position.

But if the analogy is 1:2,3:4, then man and ship must have a clear relationship. At first, you may build a sentence like “A man travels on water with a ship” but then realize that none of the answer choices can travel in or on a position.

The trick here is to consider alternate parts of speech. If you use man as a verb, as in the sentence “Man the battle stations!”, you can build a sentence like “One can man a ship.” Then you can fit the sentence to Choice (D) because you can staff a position (if staff is used as a verb).

On harder questions, be on the lookout for words that can act as different parts of speech. In this example, man can be a noun or a verb.

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