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    #1

    Arrow Contrast

    "The number of households applying for home heating assistance has climbed to record levels for the third straight year, rising by 15 percent to a projected 8.8 million this winter, state energy officials said Monday. This compares with almost 7.7 million recipients last year and 5.7 million in 2008. "

    "According to the survey nearly half of Europeans believe a victory by the Democratic candidate, Senator Barack Obama, would improve relations between the United States and Europe. This is compared with only 11 percent who believe ties would improve if the Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, were elected."

    "Studies have shown that outbreaks of monkeypox tend to die out in humans as the virus passes through successive waves, or generations, of cases. This contrasts with smallpox, which continues to spread for centuries until the person-to-person chain of transmission is broken."

    "Truancy rather than chicanery was the theme in Spain. The absence of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi in Davis Cup tennis is contrasted to nations like Sweden and Spain, where the best players display national pride. Next time Mac should listen to his freaky demons, and pencil himself in at doubles."

    Could "compares with", "is compared with", "contrasts with", and "is contrasted to" mean the same and be interchangeable in these similar contexts?

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    #2

    Re: Contrast

    Strictly speaking, to "compare" is to tell how two things are similar. To "contrast" is to tell how they are different.

    It seems that those examples are not following the distinction between the two, but are rather using "compare" to mean the same thing as "contrast."

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    #3

    Re: Contrast

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    Strictly speaking, to "compare" is to tell how two things are similar. To "contrast" is to tell how they are different.

    It seems that those examples are not following the distinction between the two, but are rather using "compare" to mean the same thing as "contrast."
    I don't know whether that is true or not.

    Compare:
    a: to examine the character or qualities of especially in order to discover resemblances or differences <compare your responses with the answers>
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compare

    I didn't understand "compare and contrast" essays 40 years ago, and I still don't know what teachers think the difference is.

    If "compare" did not allow for contrasting, you could not compare salaries, for example, because almost the only thing you can do when comparing salaries is to say how they differ.

    This same dictionary gives for "compare": "Antonyms: contrast", which I find silly.
    They then confuse it even further:

    Synonym Discussion of COMPARE

    "compare, contrast, collate mean to set side by side in order to show differences and likenesses. compare implies an aim of showing relative values or excellences by bringing out characteristic qualities whether similar or divergent<compared the convention facilities of the two cities>"

    I contend that you can't compare two things without contrasting them, which is why teachers never assign essays that go "Compare, but do not contrast, the characters of Mary and Jane in this novel."

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    #4

    Re: Contrast

    I do think the teachers from my past, with those essays, meant for us to tell what is similar and what is different.

    You could, for example compare salaries of CEOs to those of movie stars. And contrast those salaries with those of the average Joe on the street.

    I think there is a grey area where the two are not that different. But we do say that two similar things, say the Mercedes and the BMW are comparable. And we speak of contrasts between dissimilar things.

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    #5

    Re: Contrast

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I do think the teachers from my past, with those essays, meant for us to tell what is similar and what is different.

    You could, for example compare salaries of CEOs to those of movie stars. And contrast those salaries with those of the average Joe on the street.

    I think there is a grey area where the two are not that different. But we do say that two similar things, say the Mercedes and the BMW are comparable. And we speak of contrasts between dissimilar things.
    Oh, yes, I always did well in compare and contrast essays because I simply compared them - ie. analysed and wrote about how they were similar and how they were different. But I never made the mistake of trying to identify which observation was a comparison and which a contrast.
    Yes, you can contrast CEOs and movie stars salaries with those of the average Joe on the street, and that contrast is a comparison.

    Anyhow, I'd say to the Original Poster, yes, they all mean pretty much the same, even if they are antonyms!

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