Compare to and compare with are similar only in that the first word in each phrase is compare. Once you add either preposition, the meanings reverse depending on which word you use: to or with.
Comparing compare to with compare with demonstrates how different these two similar appearing phrases are with the first pointing up the similarities between what appears to be different things and the latter pointing up the differences between what seems to be similar things.
It is a distinction that is becoming less observed, and important enough that you should pay attention to the differences if you are writing a formal paper or nonfiction.
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.
|Compare To||Compare With|
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com|
|Part of Grammar:|
|Verb, transitive||Verb, intransitive|
|Used to show how two apparently different things are similar
||Used to show how two apparently similar things are different
[Grammar] To form or display the degrees of comparison of an adjective or adverb
|“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” – William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18
Dying is easy compared to giving a speech.
Total attendance figures were 28,000, compared to 40,000 at last year’s event.
Her novel was compared to the work of Daniel Defoe.
He compared the religions to different paths toward the peak of the same mountain.
|Public education doesn’t compare with home schooling.
Individual schools compared their facilities with those of others in the area.
The survey compares prices in different countries with those in our country.
Salaries at Engeeno compare favorably with those of other professions.
Sales were modest and cannot compare with the glory days of 1989.
Before voting, one should always compare the candidate’s claims with his actual performance.
Noun: comparer, comparison
Verb, transitive: intercompare, intercompared, intercomparing, precompare, precompared, precomparing, recompare, recompared, recomparing
|History of the Word:|
|Late Middle English from the Old French comparer, from the Latin comparare, from compar (like, equal), from com- (with) + par (equal).|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?
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Kindle Paperwhite WiFi by User:Frmorrison is under the GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0 license, and Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Rtrace (upload first version) User:ΛΦΠ (upload second version) (OpenLibrary.org) is in the public domain; both are via Wikimedia Commons.