I would agree. As a public speaker, a simple analogy sets up the next idea and an whole new analogy. I have combined them, i.e. lashed the logs together and put wheels on them. BTW I consider a hypothetical analogy of an imaginary senario as good as a real event analogy. (If your listeners can grasp it)

@Josie: Thanks, glad it helped! Interesting question, I don’t really consider analogies “better” (is a hammer better than a screwdriver?) but rather, one is more useful in certain situations than another. An analogy that works on multiple rivers might be heavier / harder to understand up front than a smaller one that “gets the job done quickly”.

I’m so glad this site exists. Even your analogy for analogies made things clearer for me. I have a question, though: do you consider analogies that can be taken further, or used to cross more than one river, “better” than analogies that only take you across one?

You can think of the real/imaginary axes behaving like an ordinary x-y setup–real numbers on the x-axis, imaginary on the y. They meet at (0,0), just like on the xy plane.

Terminology-wise, the ‘real’ number axis and the ‘imaginary’ number axis together form the ‘complex plane,’ and in a manner of speaking, all numbers can be thought of as ‘complex:’ a real part plus an imaginary part. (0,0) would correspond to 0 + 0i, or just 0. (1,3) would be 1 + 3i, and so on. There is an excellent in-depth explanation elsewhere on this site if you’re interested.