The difference between ‘compare with’ and ‘compare to’


to compare to is to point out or imply resemblances between objects regarded as essentially of a different order;

to compare with is mainly to point out differences between objects regarded as essentially of the same order.

Thus, life has been compared to a pilgrimage, to a drama, to a battle; Congress may be compared with the British Parliament. Paris has been compared to ancient Athens; it may be compared with modern London.

From The Elements of Style by William Strunk


Although I was taught to use ‘compare with’ when making routine comparisons – of similar things and for last year’s figures for examples.

Anyone else have any input on this?



Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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