Compare to vs. Compare with

How to use "compare to" and "compare with" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

For comparisons that involve both similarities and differences, use compare with; to stress a specific similarity or difference between two things in some respect, use compare to. This rule means that, in general, figurative comparisons should be made with compare to.

compared the copy with the original to determine whether they were really indistinguishable
compare his interpretation of the poem with mine

compared the politician to a Cheeto
nothing compares to you (= “nothing is as good as you”)
a poor speller compared to you
a poor speller in comparison to you

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.