The Power of Analogies for Explaining Stuff with Google Gemini

Leon Nicholls
7 min readApr 30, 2024

Okay, let’s talk about those head-scratching topics. You know, the ones where you read an explanation and think, “Did I accidentally switch languages?” That’s where Google Gemini comes to the rescue. Think of Gemini as your super-smart writing buddy who can break things down so anyone can understand.

The secret weapon for making those complicated things click? Analogies! It’s all about comparing the tricky topic to something more familiar. Imagine explaining how brains work by using a bustling city as an analogy — suddenly, neurons are like traffic, memory is like a library, and it starts to make sense.

In this blog post, I will show you how to collaborate with Gemini to become an analogy-crafting pro. Whether you’re explaining blockchain to investors or quantum computing to your grandma, we’ll find ways to make those lightbulb moments happen. Mastering this skill will make you feel capable and confident in simplifying complex topics.

Note: This article spotlights techniques for the Google Gemini Advanced chatbot (a paid service). While these concepts also apply to the free version, we’ll focus on the enhanced capabilities offered by the Advanced subscription.

Analogy Basics: The Recipe for Success

Think of crafting a perfect analogy like baking a delicious cake — you need the right ingredients in just the right amounts. Here’s our recipe:

  • The Juicy Topic: This is the complicated thing you want to break down. It could be artificial neural networks, cryptocurrency, or the finer points of astrophysics. The trickier, the better!
  • The ‘Aha!’ Analogy: It’s time to find something simpler that people already understand. This is where the magic happens! A good analogy makes those lightbulbs go off.
  • Your Peeps: This is your audience. Are you explaining things to tech newbies, experienced professionals, or curious kids? Your analogy needs to be something they’ll immediately get.

Now, the word magic: Add “analogy” to your prompts. This primes Gemini to think in that comparison-focused way.

Let’s see this in action:

Say we want to explain how electricity works. Here’s a quick analogy-in-the-making:

  • The Juicy Topic: Electricity
  • The ‘Aha!’ Analogy: Water flowing through pipes
  • Your Peeps: People with no background in electrical stuff

Let’s ask Gemini to give us a delicious explanation using this analogy. The result might look something like this:

“Imagine electricity like water in pipes. Voltage is the water pressure; the higher the voltage, the stronger the push. Current is how much water flows; a wider pipe, like a thicker wire, allows more current. A circuit is the complete loop the electricity travels in, like water flowing from a faucet and back down the drain. Resistance is anything that makes it harder for electricity to flow, like a narrow pipe restricting water flow.”

See how that works? Next, we’ll discuss how to pick super-effective analogies that will have your audience nodding and thoroughly understanding the complex stuff!

Picking the Perfect Analogy

Choosing the best analogy is like finding the perfect outfit — it must fit the occasion and make you feel awesomely confident. Here’s how to ensure your analogies always hit the mark:

  • Relatable is Key: Could your grandma understand your analogy? If not, it’s time to rethink. The whole point is to make things more transparent, not more confusing!
  • Make it a Movie: The best analogies are those you can picture. Can you easily visualize how your analogy connects to that complex topic? If you can, your audience will too.
  • Ditch the Clichés: Okay, we all know “it’s not rocket science,” but does that help someone understand rocket science? Stick to fresh comparisons that make people think a little.

Prompt for Success: Let Gemini do the work of picking the best analogy by using something like this:

“Use a familiar analogy to explain [the complex topic] in a way that a [target audience] would easily understand.”

Let’s say you want to explain how search engines work to someone unfamiliar with the internet. Your prompt might look like this:

“Use a familiar analogy to explain how search engines work in a way that a person who has never used the internet would easily understand.

The more specific you are about your audience, the better Gemini can tailor its explanations!

Example Extravaganza!

Ready to level up your analogy-crafting skills? Let’s examine some prompt examples and explain why they’re awesome starting points for Gemini to work its magic.

Example 1: Blockchain for the Money-Minded

Example 2: Literary Theories for Lit Lovers

Example 2: Quantum Computing 101

Example 3: Gene Editing for the Green Thumbs

Key Takeaway: When writing prompts, focusing on analogies, your audience will instantly “get” is the name of the game. With the right prompt, Gemini becomes your ultimate explanation assistant!

More Specific Gemini Prompts

We’ve already covered the basics of analogy prompts, but let’s take it to the next level! Here’s how to unlock even more of Gemini Advanced’s capabilities when creating your explanations:

  • Instructional Prompts: Need a whole arsenal of analogies? Try something like this:
    “List 5 everyday analogies that explain [complex topic] to [target audience].”
    This tells Gemini exactly what kind of output you’re looking for!
  • Comparative Prompts: Want to ensure your analogy fits like a glove for your specific audience? Use prompts like:
    How would the ‘water flowing through pipes’ analogy differ when explaining electricity to a child versus a seasoned electrician?
    This forces Gemini to consider the nuances of age and experience for a tailored result.
  • Iterative Prompts: Not every analogy is perfect on the first try. Embrace refining with prompts like:
    “Refine this analogy: [imperfect analogy]. Explain why it’s not perfect, and offer a better alternative.”
    Treat Gemini as a brainstorming partner who can help you improve your ideas.

Key Takeaway: Be bold and get creative with your prompts! Gemini Advanced is designed to understand complex instructions and subtle differences. The more specific you are, the more tailored and valuable Gemini’s responses will be.

Best Practices: Analogy Prompts That Rock

By now, you’re probably feeling like an analogy-crafting pro, but we can always step up our game! Here are a few extra tips to ensure your prompts hit the sweet spot:

  • Zero in on Your Audience: Explaining things to techies differs from explaining things to kids. Tailor those analogies to who’s listening. Need help determining who your audience is? Imagine you’re explaining it to an intelligent friend who doesn’t work in your field.
  • Laser Focus: What’s the exact part of the topic that needs that “aha!” moment? Don’t ask Gemini to explain the universe at once — break it down into bite-sized chunks.
  • Options are Awesome: Ask Gemini for a few analogies, then pick the one that is best for your audience.
  • Go Deeper: If Gemini’s first attempt feels too basic, ask it to elaborate! You might be surprised how much more detail it can provide.

Remember, practice makes perfect! The more you play around with analogy prompts, the better you’ll find the perfect comparisons to illuminate even the trickiest topics.


See, analogies aren’t just for English class anymore! They’re the secret weapon for making those “huh?” topics finally click, no matter who you’re explaining them to. And with Gemini by your side, you’ve got a whole library of excellent comparisons at your fingertips.

Here’s your challenge: think of a complex topic in your work or field. Brainstorm a few analogy ideas that could transform how you explain it. Try feeding them to Gemini and see what brilliance it comes up with! You might be surprised how easy it becomes to get your point across.

Check out my reading list of other Google Gemini articles.

This post was created with the help of AI writing tools, carefully reviewed, and polished by the human author.