One thing about the internet is that it is an incredible referencing tool. It doesn’t replace my Oxford Book of (writing) Style, but it does make looking for a point of interest over my porridge even easier.




Strunk and White (The Elements of Style)

To compare to is to point out or imply resemblances between objects regarded as essentially of a different order;

to compare with is mainly to point out differences between objects regarded as essentially of the same order.

Thus, life has been compared to a pilgrimage, to a drama, to a battle; Congress may be compared with the British Parliament. Paris has been compared to ancient Athens; it may be compared with modern London.

AP Stylebook

Use compared to when the intent is to assert, without the need for elaboration, that two or more items are similar: She compared her work for women’s rights to Susan B Anthony’s campaign for women’s suffrage.

Use compared with when juxtaposing two or more items to illustrate similarities and/or differences: His time was 2:11:10 compared with 2:14 for his closest competitor.

Penguin Writer’s Manual

Both prepositions, to and with, can be used followingcompare. Neither is more correct than the other, but a slight distinction can be made in meaning.

To has traditionally been preferred when the similarity between two things is the point of the comparison and compare means ‘liken’: I hesitate to compare my own works to those of someone like Dickens.

With, on the other hand, suggests that the differences between two things are as important as, if not more important than, the similarities: We compared the facilities available to most city-dwellers with those available to people living in the countryto compare like with like.

When compare is used intransitively it should be followed by with: Our output simply cannot compare with theirs.