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MAT Practice — Analogies Involving Non-semantic Word Relationships

At least a few of the 120 analogies (questions) on your MAT will involve non-semantic word relationships. What this means is that the connection between the words has nothing to do with their meaning. (The adjective semantic means "of or relating to the meanings of words and phrases."

This type of MAT question typically focuses either on letter patterns or on phonetics (how a word is pronounced when spoken). On this page are five MAT-style practice questions involving non-semantic analogies. Further down the page you'll find an analysis of each question.

Directions: In each of the following questions, you will find three terms in upper-case letters and, in parentheses, four answer options lettered (a), (b), (c) and (d). Select the answer option that best completes the analogy with the three other terms.

  1. CROUTON : (a. mutton, b. futon, c. grout, d. glutton) :: SNOOZE : OOZE

  2. (a. hoot, b. hose, c. slot, d. heat) : HOT :: ROUSE : ROSE

  3. WHIRLY : HIRSUTE :: ALWAYS : (a. woven, b. suitable, c. altered, d. wayward)

  4. HOBNOB : (a. kowtow, b. bonbon, c. madman, d. melee) :: HOBO : BACKPACK

  5. ROTOR : RACECAR :: RADAR : (a. sedan, b. daredevil, c. kayak, d. submarine)

Answers and Explanations
[Types of Relationships in MAT Analogies]

  1. The correct answer is (b). The word futon rhymes with crouton, while snooze rhymes with ooze. (Analogy type: non-semantic)

  2. The correct answer is (a). You form the word rose merely by omitting the letter (u) from rouse. Similarly, you form the word hot merely by omitting the letter (o) from hoot. The fact that hot and heat are semantically related is a red herring. (Analogy type: non-semantic)

  3. The correct answer is (d). The three-letter sequence h-i-r in whirly is the first three-letter sequence in hirsute. Similarly, the three-letter sequence w-a-y in always is the first three-letter sequence in wayward. (Analogy type: non-semantic)

  4. The correct answer is (a). Each of the four words hobnob, kowtow, hobo and backpack consists of two rhyming syllables that differ only with respect to the first letter. The fact that hobo and backpack are semantically related is a red herring. (Analogy type: non-semantic)

  5. The correct answer is (c). The words rotor, racecar, radar and kayak are all palindromes, which means that they are spelled the same backwards as forwards. All semantic relationships are red herrings. (Analogy type: non-semantic)