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    • Join Date: Sep 2006
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    #1

    Compare to Vs Compare with

    To/with what does the poet compare the daffodils?

    He compares the daffodils to/with the stars.

    Why does the speaker connect daffodils to/with the stars?

    He does so for several reasons. First, their shape. The petals mimic the shape of a star. Second, their number. The stars are infinite; the daffodils are abundant. Third, their color. They're golden, and shimmer like the stars.

    The verb "to compare" can be used with "to" or "with". Normally "with" is the correct choice but, if the things being compared are not of the same category, you must use "to".

    So, for example, you can compare a cat with a dog, because they are both similar animals. You might even compare a person with an animal, because they are both mammals.

    But you must compare a flower TO a star and you must compare New York TO a hive of bees, because the difference is too extreme and you are looking at just one facet of the appearance or motion.

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    #2

    Re: Compare to Vs Compare with

    Hello Asad

    I would say "The petals resemble the shape of a star", as "mimic" suggests volition.

    The distinction you make between "compare with" and "compare to" is interesting.

    My own feeling is that ordinary speakers do not always stick to that distinction. For me, for instance, "compare with" puts two things side by side, whereas "compare to" compares this thing here and that thing there.

    I also wonder whether there's a tendency for "compare with" to occur where two things are compared in several aspects, whereas "compare to" often occurs where two things are compared in one particular aspect.

    But other members may have better information than me!

    All the best,

    MrP


    • Join Date: Sep 2005
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    #3

    Re: Compare to Vs Compare with

    You often hear that compare to is for differences and compare with is for similarities, but that is a simplification.

    'compare to' means 'liken to'. When Shakespeare wrote 'Shall I compare thee to a summers day?' he was using 'compare to' perfectly.

    'compare with' is used when you are weighing similarities or differences point by point.


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    #4

    Re: Compare to Vs Compare with

    If you were to say the same thing, which preposition would you use?


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    #5

    Re: Compare to Vs Compare with

    Quote Originally Posted by asad hussain View Post
    If you were to say the same thing, which preposition would you use?
    I wouldn't use 'compare'...


    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 1,335
    #6

    Re: Compare to Vs Compare with

    Hi,
    A thread that will interest many.
    Yes, a very good trick for compare with, Andrew.
    No, I dont think to only works with different categories.

    I think compare to is used
    a) In romantic contexts, when we can say like
    Nothing compares to you. = there's no one like you, nothing brings as much happiness as you did.
    Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? = You are like a summer's day.
    b) When we mean sth is better or worse.
    Let's compare
    After visiting Germany Ira was able to compare the living conditions there with those in Moldova.
    You can't compare the living conditions in Germany to those in Moldova.

    Regards


    • Join Date: Sep 2006
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    #7

    Re: Compare to Vs Compare with

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Whitehead View Post
    I wouldn't use 'compare'...
    What would you use then?


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    #8

    Re: Compare to Vs Compare with

    I would like Tdol to help me with this, if he doesn't mind.


    • Join Date: Sep 2005
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    #9

    Re: Compare to Vs Compare with

    Quote Originally Posted by asad hussain View Post
    What would you use then?
    That depends heavily on the context, but "they are alike" is one option.

    Basically, if two things are the same there is no comparison to make.


    Nothing compares to you. = there's no one like you, nothing brings as much happiness as you did.
    It could also mean "I liken you to a nothing", which is not so romantic. Where you thinking of Sinead O'Conner?


    • Join Date: May 2006
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    #10

    Re: Compare to Vs Compare with

    Yes, O'Connor.

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