Call 713-723-9142

Tip 68: Compare to versus Compare with

Just in case you were wondering, ‘compare to’ and ‘compare with’ are not always interchangeable. The basic differences between the two are:

  • Use ‘to’ when you are stressing the similarities between two items that are being compared. These statements are normally subjective, in that your reader may or may not agree with the comparison you are making.
    Example: The engineer compared her cooking to burnt rubber.
    Example: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
  • Use ‘with’ when you are looking at both similarities and differences of the two items that are being compared. With these statements, you are not making a judgment, and your conclusion(s) can be verified.
    Example: The chemist compared the properties of water with the properties of oil.
    Example: The detective compared the soles of the man’s shoes with the mold they had made from the footprints in the mud.