Grammar Tips & Articles »

Compared To vs Compared With: What is the Difference?

Compared To vs Compared With: What is the difference? Read our article at to find out! Relax and enjoy!

3:18 min read
  Teri Lapping  —  Grammar Tips
Font size:

Compared To vs Compared With: What is the Difference?

The phrasescompared to” and “compared with” are used interchangeably and are usually assumed to have the same meaning. But do they?  

In this article, we will take a closer look at the verb “compare” when it is coupled with the prepositionsto” and “with.” 

We know that the prepositions “to” and “with” often mean different things.  What happens when we put them together with the verb "compare"?

Using the verb “Compare” with a Preposition

When we put the verb “comparetogether with the prepositionsto” or “with,” we have technically created prepositional phrases. Generally speaking, these two prepositional phrases, “compared to” and “compared with” both mean that we are examining the similarities and differences between items, ideas, or people. 

But we can be even more exact in our expression when we examine the two phrases separately.

Using the prepositional phrase “Compared To.

The phrasecompared to” is used to show similarities between any two objects or ideas.

For example:

“The man’s total earnings this year can be compared to last year’s total.”
(That is, we are talking about the similarities between this year’s earnings and last year’s earnings.)

What’s more, the phrasecompared to,” is also used to specifically highlight the likenesses between two apparently different classifications of objects. 

For example:
“John compared Jane’s eyes to the blue sky.”
“The orange of the fruit can be compared to the color of the sky at sunset.” 

(That is, two separate categories of objects are being compared: eyes and sky, fruit and sunsets.  The aspect of color is the common denominator between the two categories.)

Using the prepositional phrase “Compared With.”

When we use the phrasecompared with,” we are showing differences as well as similarities between any two objects or ideas. We are contrasting them. 

For example:

“The forecast today is also for sunshine but when compared with the yesterday’s temperatures, the weather will definitely be colder.”

(That is, although there are similar characteristics between today’s weather and yesterday’s, this sentence is stressing the differences.)

What’s more, the phrasecompared with,” can show differences and similarities between two objects or ideas that belong to similar classifications

For example: 

“The rhyme in Judy’s modern poem was successful when compared with the other contestant’s poetry.”

(That is, Judy’s poem and the other contestant’s poetry all belong to the same grouppoetry - and their differences and similarities are being weighed against each other within the context of that group.)

Other Phrases that use a Verb plus “To” and “With.”

Like “compared to” and “compared with,” there are other prepositional phrases that combine a verb with both “to” as well as “with.” 

These phrases include:
in relation to” vs “in relation with
associated to” vs “associated with
equated to” vs “equated with
liken to” vs “liken with

As in the case of “compared to” and “compared with,” their meaning and correct usage needs clarification and will be addressed in future articles. 


The phrasecompared tohighlights similarities and tends to show likeness.
The phrasecompared withhighlights the differences and tends to juxtapose. 

Final Thoughts

The nuances between “compared to” and “compared with” are slight and are easily overlooked. Over a century ago, the term “compared with” was used more often and was considered correct. Today, people favor the expressioncompared to.” 

It could be that we are seeing the evidence of our living, evolving language as it slowly merges two expressions into one, as “compared to” and “compared with” fuse and become indistinguishable. 

Which expression do you intuitively use and prefer? 

Rate this article:

Have a discussion about this article with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this article to your bibliography:


    "Compared To vs Compared With: What is the Difference?." STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 8 Jun 2023. <>.

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Check your text and writing for style, spelling and grammar problems everywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Check your text and writing for style, spelling and grammar problems everywhere on the web!


    Free Writing Tool:

    Grammar Checker

    Improve your grammar, vocabulary, and writing -- and it's FREE!

    Improve your writing now:

    Download Grammar eBooks

    It’s now more important than ever to develop a powerful writing style. After all, most communication takes place in reports, emails, and instant messages.