Which Is Correct, Compared To Or Compared With?: The verb ‘Compare’ is used to examine two or more things, usually an object, idea, or people in order to note, measure, or estimate the similarities and differences between them. This verb is often accompanied with the object ‘ing’ or ‘ed’ thereby producing the participles Comparing or Compared which are used in expressing the similarity or differences which exists between two or more things in a sentence. Notably, the participle Comparing is the present participle of the verb ‘compare’, while Compared is the past participle which is used while speaking or writing in past tense.
The participle compared is always accompanied either ‘to’ or ‘with’ which are the prepositions used to perfectly express this verb. However, many people do not express this verb correctly in a sentence as they usually misplace the use of ‘Compared to’ and ‘Compared with’ and use it interchangeably in a sentence.
While making this mistake is not acceptable in the English parlance, it is quite understandable because the phrase sounds alike and people who make this mistake do not really understand the meaning of the phrase ‘Compared to’ and ‘Compared with’ to be differentiate when to use them.
For this purpose, in this Article i shall examine the meaning of the phrase ‘Compared to’ and ‘Compared with’ and how to correctly use either of them in a sentence.
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Meaning and Uses of The Phrase
It is instructive to note that while both ‘Compared to’ and ‘Compared with’ are used to illustrate a comparison between two or more objects, ideas, or people, they have slightly different meanings and context of use.
To properly understand its context of use in a sentence, we shall consider the meaning of each phrase and the instances where they may be appropriately used.
The phrase ‘Compared to’ means to compare something to something. In doing so, it examines the similarity between two things. For example: We compared the 2022 election to the 2011 election. In this example, we are comparing two elections to point out the similarities between these two elections.
The phrase ‘Compared to’ equally points out the similarities between objects of different orders. For example: Compared to the Dog, the Cat is smart. This illustrates a comparison of objects of different orders.
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‘Compared to’ can be used in the following instances –
1. When comparing similarities: In an instance where you are comparing the similarity between two things, it is best to use ‘Compared to’. For example: My result was bad compared to my previous, He compared their win to that of the 2017 Madrid team.
From these examples, we can see that I comparing the similarity between my previous and present result, and also in the latter example comparing how this year’s win is similar to the 2017 UCL win of Real Madrid.
2. When expressing an opinion: When you are expressing your opinion on a subject or about a thing or likewise you’re stating an observation, it is apposite you make use of ‘Compared to’. For example: Harry Kane is not good compared to Cristiano Ronaldo.
From this example, you can see that from my observation from watching football for years, I am giving my opinion that Kane is a good player, but when compared to Ronaldo; he is not good. It is wrong for me to say ‘Compared with Ronaldo, Kane is not good’ or ‘Kane is not good compared with Ronaldo’. So in any instance you are giving an opinion about two things or humans, remember that you should use ‘Compared to’.
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3. When likening two things: When you are likening two things, you should make use of ‘Compared to’. For example: She looks tall compared to him. I loved Anayo, but I know now that love was nothing compared to what I feel now.
As you can see from these examples, we are pointing out the resemblance between their heights; hence in comparison to the height of the guy she looks tall. Likewise, in the later example, she is comparing her feelings then and now. Thus, flowing from these examples, any time you want to make an analogy or you are likening two things, comparing two similar things, or pointing out the resemblance between two things, you should make use of ‘Compared to’.
4. When you intend to assert: In an instance wherein you intend to assert that two or more things are similar, without any need for elaboration, you are to use ‘Compared to’. For example: She compared her dress to that of Micheal Jackson. He compared his work to that of Chinua Achebe. In the first instance, the lady is comparing her dress with that of Micheal Jackson on the basis that they’re similar to each other. In the second instance, the guy is asserting that his work is similar to that of Chinua Achebe.
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The Phrase ‘Compared with’ means to compare something to something in order to examine the differences between them. For example: Let’s compare President Buhari with Goodluck Jonathan. In this instance, we are comparing the difference which exists in the administration of Buhari with the administration of Goodluck.
Formally, ‘Compared with’ is used to compare two similar things, and to highlight the differences between them. For example: Compared with his uncle, Samuel is taller. This example shows the comparison of two similar things (Human beings), and highlighting the difference in height between them (that Samuel is taller than his uncle).
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‘Compared with’ can be used in the following instances –
1. When juxtaposing two things: Instructively, when you are juxtaposing two things by placing them side by side to compare the similarities and differences which exists between them, you are to use ‘Compared with’.
For example: Nigerians are not punctual compared with the Europeans. Your achievement cannot be compared with mine. In the first instance, we are comparing the differences in the pattern of Nigerians to attending events with that of the Europeans. In the second instance, we are juxtaposing the achievements of one person with that of another person.
2. When weighing things: When weighing a thing against another thing, it is best you make use of ‘Compared with’. For example: We compared the people in the society with the resources available. In this instance, we are weighing the number of available resources against the number of available people in the society to enjoy these resources.
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3. When comparing similar things: When you are comparing two similar things, it is more appropriate to use ‘Compared with’ as illustrated by the example in the definition section.
Having understood the meaning of both ‘Compared to’ and ‘Compared with’ lets now answer the question on which is correct between them?
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Which of The Phrase Is Correct?
It is instructive to note that both ‘Compared to’ and ‘Compared with’ are grammatically correct, however it only depends on its context of use. Its context of use slightly differs are elucidated above, so to determine which is correct between them, you need to determine which properly fits in the context which you want to use it for.
To properly determine which fits into the context which you want to use it for, you need to understand the differences between the two phrases and its appropriate instances of use. Understanding these will effectively enable you to know when to use the phrase that fits each sentence.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.