Lego pieces on the floorMaybe you’ve noticed this about the pandemic, too: People speaking about all things COVID-19 are trying to make them easier to understand. Or, sometimes, they’re trying to make a point about actions that are or are not working.

Want to explain how the virus works or clear up confusion about vaccination? Try an analogy, which shows how two things are alike. A metaphor is an analogy that makes the connection without using the words like or as.

“Your stories should use metaphors and analogies to explain complex terms and concepts,” says Shira Feder in The Open Notebook’s Guide to Science Writing.

And how’s this for a timely way of making a case for using analogies? “Your report may be accurate, it may be clear, but, like a vaccine no one takes, if it does not move readers to thought or action, it’s like a medical mask worn hanging from one ear,” says Poynter writing coach and author Roy Peter Clark.

The April issue of my newsletter has some terrific examples of analogies spotted recently that make a point or help make sense out of the COVID-19 confusion. Stewart Reynolds (known on social media as Brittlestar) is the one who made the connection between our constant guarded state and the perils of walking into a room full of Lego…in bare feet.

Read more, and do share any great analogies you’ve found.


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