Friday, July 29, 2016

Compare with or to

Bryan Garner glosses compare with and compare to :

The usual phrase has for centuries been compare with , which means “to place side by side, noting differences and similarities between” <let us compare his goals with his actual accomplishments>. Compare to = to observe or point only to likenesses between <he compared her eyes to limpid pools>.

Compare and contrast is an English teacher’s tautology, for in comparing two things (one thing with another) one notes both similarities and differences.
Persnickety children and young adults: raise your hands and correct your teachers. Do it this fall!

Related reading
All OCA Bryan Garner posts (Pinboard)

[Orange Crate Art is a Garner-friendly zone.]

comments: 2

Daughter Number Three said...

So the Prince song should be Nothing Compares with U?

Michael Leddy said...

To seems right to me: nothing compares to you, there are no likenesses between you and anyone else. I think that’s right.

But also, I think that with songs, anything goes: “I Only Have Eyes for You” beats “I Have Eyes for Only You.”