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Comparing 'with' and 'to'

Posted by R. Berg on July 23, 2003

In Reply to: Comparing 'with' and 'to' posted by Kit on July 23, 2003

: : : : : 1.How should be length "6-foot-4" be read here:
: : : : : He is 6-foot-4 tall.

: : : : : 2."as compared to" and "as compared with", which is correct?

: : : : : 3.What does "beat" mean in this ad.?
: : : : : We offer a consummate and leading web page development program, at a price hard to beat.

: : : : : 4.As we could see from the Domain Name, I assume most of you here on this forum are from the UK, so would you mind telling me a bit about your monetary system?
: : : : : Are you still using shillings and farthings? If not, are you still using such phrases like "not worth a farthing"?
: : : : : I think the matter would be worse to you if the UK joined the European Union - you will perhaps stop using "penny wise and pound foolish" and the like, is that right?

: : : : : 5.When someone is having a temperature, we say he/she is suffering fever or suffering from fever?

: : : : : Thanks a lot!

: : : : 6 foot 4 is 6 feet and four inches tall (my height exactly!)

: : : : 'Compared with' is the correct expression, although it is common these days to use 'compared to'. (Something I despise in writing.)

: : : : My mum always taught me:

: : : : compared with
: : : : similar to
: : : : the sames as
: : : : different from
: : : : etc. etc. Old fashioned I know. (And i'm only 21!)

: : : : "Beat" in the ad means that their price should be the cheapest around, that there should be few offers better than theirs.

: : : : We haven't used shillings and farthings since my dad was a kid (and now he's dead!). We simply use pounds and pennies in daily usage (However if New Labour has its way we'll be in the European Currency in less time than it takes you to say "Penny for the Guy, guvnor?"

: : : : Either 'suffering fever' or 'suffering from fever' is correct, however the latter is a more standard way of saying it. We can also say that they are 'suffering from A fever'.

: : : : What an amazing language we have, with so many possible ways of saying something as rudimentary as this!!!

: : : : ;-)

: : : Feet and inches can also be expressed using single and double quotation marks respectively. 'He is 6' 4" tall.'

: : "Compare to" and "compare with" have different meanings. Many people use "to" when "with" is correct. A few do the reverse.

: : Americans say "penny wise and pound foolish" even though our monetary system hasn't included the pound for a long time.

: Just curious, how do you use "compared to" correctly and how does it differ from "compared with"? I have been told by many an academic that to compare something TO something else is grammatically incorrect - however the expression has slipped, somewhat unfortunately, into modern day use.

: I could of course be wrong, but my conceited ego isn't prepared to give in without proof...

The academics were oversimplifying things.
From H. W. Fowler, "Modern English Usage":

"'He compared me to Demosthenes' means that he suggested that I was comparable to him or put me in the same class; 'He compared me with Demosthenes' means that he instituted a detailed comparison or pointed out where and how far I resembled or failed to resemble him. . . . After the intransitive verb ('a boiled mullet cannot compare with a baked one'), and after 'in comparison', 'with' alone is possible."

From Theodore Bernstein, "The Careful Writer":

"The choice of 'to' or 'with' fo follow 'compare' is nto a matter of indifference. When the purpose is to liken two things or to put them in the same category, use 'to.' When the purpose is to place one thing side by side with another, to examine their differences or their similarities, use 'with.'"

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