Compared with versus compared to

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Hello everybody,

Could anyone help with a doubt? Which one is the correct form: COMPARED WITH or COMPARED TO?

EX: Group 1 was compared ___ Group 2

I appreciate any help!

Thanks!
New Member33
Hi Sunflower,

Both are in very common use.
I would hazard a guess that most users just use the one that is most common in their locality.
Senior Member4,453
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I was able to find this explanation, but I do not believe most users would feel there was any difference - only that one is more familiar to them than the other.

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Compare with or Compare to?

To identify either the similarities or the differences between two things, use "compare to." To identify both the similarities and the differences, use "compare with." In comparing with something, one finds or discusses both things that are alike and things that are different.
-J. Cheney http://homepage.smc.edu/quizzes/cheney_joyce/Comparewithcompare.html

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For those who enjoy reading him, Fowler (Modern English Usage) concurs, Mike, and offers a brief discussion.
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I don't have the Fowler, but John Eastwood's 'Oxford Guide to English Grammar' makes no differentiation, at least for the example sentence given.

Cheers
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
On inspection, my Oxford dictionary does show a difference when used in ways other than our original example.

'Compare to' can also mean 'liken', declare to be similar; 'he compared (likened) the human body to a machine'

'Compare with' can also mean be worthy of comparison; 'he cannot compare with Patrick White as a novelist'. (he is not worthy of being compared to Patrick White ...)

Mike
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
Hi Mike,

Thank you for your attention! I really appreciated your help!
Cheers
Hello

Compare to/with

My understanding is as follows:

(1) Z compares X to Y (positive/metaphoric) :You can compare Earth to a ship.
(2) Z compares X with Y (neutral/negative) :Compare Earth with Mars.
(3) X compares with Y --> X competes with Y :No country can compare with China in the population size.

Am I right?
Senior Member4,095
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Agreed, paco.

Nicely delineated in principle, though I don't understand the "negative" part.

In reality, however, I feel the distinction between (1) and (2) has been quite blurry.
My empirical intuition is that [compare ...to...] is freewheeling, (i.e., it can be used either way), while [compare ... with...] strictly sticks to its original definition (i.e., not used as a synonym of 'liken').

I'd be glad to be corrected if I'm wrong.
Full Member269
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