"Compare With" vs. "Compare To" — Of Apples and Oranges

Published on 07 Dec, 2016

Generic Grammar

Some expressions in English are easy to get wrong.

Fortunately, with a little help, they are also easy to get right. 

One such set of expressions is compare with and compare to.

Compare with is used to draw attention to differences between similar things, whereas compare to notes similarities between dissimilar things. Let us look at a few examples.

  • Individual engineering institutions compared their facilities and equipment with those of others in the area.
  • She compared kids to young plants, both still growing and able to be shaped.


Make it Easy

In business writing, compare with is often preferred.

  • The company reported a profit of $4million in 2015 compared with a loss of $1 million in 2014.

The usage of compare to is mostly poetic.

  • Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? [Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18]