[Grammar] Compare “To” Or Compare “With”?

Hey guys! Check the answers to the last episode:

1.B    2.A    3.C

Sometimes while writing, you may have trouble with the differences between “compare … to …” and “compare … with … “. Which one should you use? Or doesn’t it matter?

Today let’s figure it out!

In general terms, both are correct, but the choice depends partly on meaning and partly on grammar.

In addition, American English generally prefers to when there is a choice, whereas in British English the two different constructions are more evenly spread.

1. Compare … to …

“Compare … to …” is used to make an analogy, which emphasizes the similarities between two different things. It is generally used in literary works to make the language more vivid.

When “compare” is used to say that one thing resembles another, or to make an analogy between two different things, “to” is obligatory.

One of the most famous lines in English poetry, from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, uses “compare … to …” in this way:

Shall I compare thee (“thee” means “you” here) to a summer’s day?

He compared his lover with the summer and thought that his lover was better.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?”的图片搜索结果

2. Compare … with …

“Compare … with …” is used to compare two things to see if they are the same or different, generally to emphasize the differences.

Sales increased 10% in the summer compared with the previous season.

“Sales increased”的图片搜索结果

Attention: “comparison” as the noun equivalent of “compare” can be followed by either “with” or “to”.


1. Her novel was compared ___ the work of Daniel Defoe.

A. to   B. with


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