Writing Tip: Use Analogies

Use Analogies When You Write A Business Letter, Essay Or Article
by Gene Griessman,Ph.D.,author of “The Words Lincoln Lived By”

One way to improve your writing is to use analogies that readers can visualize.  If you are dealing with a complex idea, it is particularly helpful to your readers if you can think of an analogy or an illustration or an example.

We found a beautiful example of this writing technique in “Spycraft” written by Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton.   In the selection below, the authors describe how technicians design the surveillance devices that spies use.   It is an artful explanation of  “form following function” and “function following form.”

“Engineers are schooled in the design of industrial and consumer products so that form usually follows function.

The can opener in the kitchen and the ratchet wrench in the workshop look the way they do because engineers chose the most logical design solution.  Spy gear inverts that concept for clandestine use.  Function must often adapt to forms that disguise the true nature of the device.

The challenge for spycraft engineers was to design a can opener to look like a shoe, a vase, or a tube of toothpaste – anything but a can opener – and they had to do it without sacrificing any of the can opener’s functions or reliability.”

–Gene Griessman, Ph.D.  is internationally known for his presentations on Abraham Lincoln and his seminar: “The Language of Leadership.”  To inquire about booking Dr. Griessman for your next meeting, call 404-256-5927


Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and communication strategist. His book “TheWords Lincoln Lived By” is in its 23rd printing and “Time Tactics of Very Successful People” is in its 43rd printing. His training video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions and annual meetings all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, call 404-435-2225. Learn more at Atlanta Speakers Bureau or at his website. His latest book “Lincoln and Obama” has just been released by Audible.
This entry was posted in Writing/How To Write letters, notes,articles, email, books and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.