Results 1 to 5 of 5
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 24
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    "compare to" or "compare with"

    When I speak or write, I sometimes am not sure which phrasal verb to use, "compare to" or "compare with". Are they interchangable most of the time? What is the difference? Is there a rule to remember it?

    For instance,
    1. Compared to running, walking is good for people who have knee problems.

    2. Andy compared his math teacher with his English teacher and pointed out what they had in common and what they did not.


    3. In order to decide which city to tour, we had to compare with each other.

    1 and 2 both compare things, why one uses compare to, two uses compare with?
    for 3, can I use compare to here? Is it grammatically incorrect or the meaning has changed?

    Thank
    Last edited by watermark; 23-Oct-2009 at 18:53.


    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 2,886
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: "compare to" or "compare with"

    compared with or compared to

    Do the following mean the same?
    a net loss of 8 compared with the 1990 result. . .
    a net loss of 8 compared to the 1990 result. . .

    What difference there may seem to be is probably affected by one’s regional background (American or British) – despite the fact that the major English
    dictionaries give separate definitions to the two structures. Webster’s Third (1986) and the Oxford Dictionary (1989) both suggest that compared with is
    used when the comparison is part of a broad analysis, and compared to when it’s a matter of specifically likening one thing to another. But the distinction is
    probably more honored in the breach than the observance. Webster’s English Usage (1989) found little correlation between the two particles and the two
    meanings, and that the two meanings were not necessarily separable anyway. It concluded that any tendency to choose compared to for the meaning “liken” could only be demonstrated for the active verb, not when it was passive or just a past participle. The very similar frequencies of compared to and compared with in data from CCAE also suggest that the two constructions are used indifferently in American English. In British English compared with is a good deal more frequent than compared to: the ratio is about 2:1 in BNC data. Also noteworthy is the fact that compared to appears more often than compared with among spoken data and scripted dialogue. This suggests that it’s the more informal of the two constructions, the one you use when speaking off the cuff, rather than when crafting your prose.
    The preference for compared with was once underpinned by the latinist’s insistence that with was the only possible particle, because the prefix in
    compare is the Latin cum “with.” Like other Latin-derived principles of usage, its influence has been more pervasive in Britain, and helped to underscore the use of compared with. Yet even there, compared is increasingly construed with to, on the analogy of similar words and structures such as likened to and similar to. The regional preferences for construing compared apply also to the adjective comparable. In British usage comparable to and comparable with are both freely used, appearing in the ratio 4:3 in BNC data. American usage meanwhile is strongly inclined to comparable to, by the evidence of CCAE

    Peters- Camridge Guide to English Language

  1. Neillythere's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Thailand

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 537
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: "compare to" or "compare with"

    Hi watermark

    This reference from the Free Dictionary is in line with the way I. as a Brit, would have used "compare to" vs "compare with":

    compare - definition of compare by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.
    Usage Note:
    Compare usually takes the preposition to when it refers to the activity of describing the resemblances between unlike things: He compared her to a summer day. Scientists sometimes compare the human brain to a computer.
    It takes with when it refers to the act of examining two like things in order to discern their similarities or differences: The police compared the forged signature with the original. The committee will have to compare the Senate's version of the bill with the version that was passed by the House.

    When compare is used to mean "to liken (one) with another," with is traditionally held to be the correct preposition: That little bauble is not to be compared with (not to) this enormous jewel. But to is frequently used in this context and is not incorrect.

    Hope this helps
    NT

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 24
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: "compare to" or "compare with"

    Thank you Both, Svartnik and Neillythere.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 23,270
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    Re: "compare to" or "compare with"

    Quote Originally Posted by watermark View Post
    When I speak or write, I sometimes am not sure which phrasal verb to use, "compare to" or "compare with". Are they interchangable most of the time? What is the difference? Is there a rule to remember it?

    For instance,
    1. Compared to running, walking is good for people who have knee problems.

    2. Andy compared his math teacher with his English teacher and pointed out what they had in common and what they did not.


    3. In order to decide which city to tour, we had to compare with each other.

    1 and 2 both compare things, why one uses compare to, two uses compare with?
    for 3, can I use compare to here? Is it grammatically incorrect or the meaning has changed?

    Thank
    You could choose one form and use it always, without making many mistakes (if any). I generally prefer "compare to".
    By the way, they aren't phrasal verbs; 'compare' is an ordinary verb, and you are trying to decide which preposition to use with it.

Similar Threads

  1. "link with" or "link to"
    By ankawik in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-Apr-2008, 15:39
  2. "agree to" and "agree with"
    By mounika in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 15-Mar-2008, 19:15
  3. "share with" OR "share to"?
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-Jan-2007, 02:05
  4. "compare with" and "compare to"
    By kaneskan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 28-Sep-2005, 11:01

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •