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Thread: 'contrast with/to/between' AND 'compare to/with' - THE FINAL WORD

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    'contrast with/to/between' AND 'compare to/with' - THE FINAL WORD

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    Im sorry, i know this query has been posted MULTIPLE times. I searched and went through each thread, but STILL didnt get a satisfactory answer.

    Ive gone through the Princeton Review, the kaplan 2006, the 11th ed Official Guide, ursula's notes and the Kaplan 800 and ALL have varying definitions/explanations.

    CONTRAST
    -----------

    For e.g. The K800 states it almost as a RULE that 'in contrast to' is the correct idiom, while many sources say that 'contrast with' is preferred. OR does the 'in' change this preference.

    So it should be 'contrast A with B', but 'A in contrast to B' ? Im so confused ...


    I googled and i got the following from thefreedicitonary.com:

    Usage Note: The noun contrast may be followed by between, with, or to: There is a sharp contrast between his earlier and later works. In contrast with (or less frequently, to) his early works, the later plays are dark and forbidding. When contrast is used as a transitive verb, both with and to may follow, though with is more common: Most scholars contrast the light comedies of his early career with (or to) the dark comedies that were written late in his life.

    So, now the K800s claim that 'in contrast to' is the correct idiom goes in the bin?

    COMPARE
    ---------

    This only gets tougher. When LIKE things are discussed, then use 'compare with' and when UNLIKE things are discussed use 'compare to' (specially when stressing similarities, apparently). But, how do you decide WHAT IS LIKE and what is not? What if neither similarity nor difference is being stressed, but rather who/what is better?

    Is 'I' and 'YOU' like or unlike?
    I am better compared with/to you?

    Going by my ear, 'to' sounds better. By definition, im not sure whether similarities or differences are being discussed here OR whether 'I' and 'YOU' are like or unlike.

    What about 'ice cream' and 'brocolli'
    Broccoli is good for you compared with/to ice cream.

    To me its clear that ice cream and brocolli are UNLIKE items, so the above DEFINITELY should be 'compare to', but 800score has quoted is an example of 'compare with'. Why?

    What about 'Jimmy Steward' and 'Gregory Peck'? Like or unlike?
    Gregory Peck was a better actor compared to/with Jimmy Stewart.

    My ear tells me nothing. Probably similarities are being stressed here or maybe theyre not, i dont know. Are the two actors LIKE or UNLIKE? I DONT KNOW!

    thefreedicitonary.com usage is as confusing:

    Usage Note: Compare usually takes the preposition to when it refers to the activity of describing the resemblances between unlike things: He compared her to a summer day. Scientists sometimes compare the human brain to a computer. It takes with when it refers to the act of examining two like things in order to discern their similarities or differences: The police compared the forged signature with the original. The committee will have to compare the Senate's version of the bill with the version that was passed by the House. When compare is used to mean "to liken (one) with another," with is traditionally held to be the correct preposition: That little bauble is not to be compared with (not to) this enormous jewel. But to is frequently used in this context and is not incorrect.

    Im giving the test in 3 days, LORD someone solve this one for me. Please.
    Last edited by SidGupta; 06-20-2006 at 09:13 AM.

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    I am better compared with/to you.
    "I am better than you" is the best answer. Also, above sentence has different and incorrect meanings embedded. "I am better compared..." can convey that when I am compared, my comparison is better than yours rather than I am better than you. If that inded is the intended meaning then appropriate sentence would be "My comparison is better than yours". In this scenario, I feel that compare should not be used at all and hence there is no issue of 'to' or 'with'.

    Broccoli is good for you compared with/to ice cream.
    This again is an incorrect sentence. I feel that there are two separate clauses but they are not joined at all. A better sentence is "Broccoli is good for you when compared with/to ice cream." But the meaning of sentence is distorted here. It appears that the meaning is; Broccoli is good for you only when it is compared with ice cream, otherwise it may not be. Also, when broccoli and ice cream are compared, 'better' instead of 'good' should be used. Better sentence would be "For you, broccoli is better than ice cream". Again I feel that compare is not required and unsuitable in this scenario as well.

    Gregory Peck was a better actor compared to/with Jimmy Stewart.
    Again 'than' instead of 'compared to/with' should be used. Two separate clauses but nothing joining them. Use of than such as " Gregory Peck was a better actor than Jimmy Stewart". is more meaningful, clear and concise. If you write "Gregory Peck was a better actor when compared to/with Jimmy Stewart.", meaning gets distorted. It tries to make a statement that
    Gregory Peck was a better actor only when he was compared with Jimmy.


    In all of the three sentences, I do not see a way to remove all grammatical errors and still keep the intended meaning. Overall, it appears that compare to/with should only be used when the goal of comparison is to find out or describe similarities or dissimilarities between two or more items. If there is no such intention then a comparative verb forms should be used instead of compare.

    Refer to "dictionary.com": Compare usually takes the preposition to when it refers to the activity of describing the resemblances between unlike things: He compared her to a summer day. Scientists sometimes compare the human brain to a computer. It takes with when it refers to the act of examining two like things in order to discern their similarities or differences: The police compared the forged signature with the original.

    The key should be what is intended. Sometimes "comparison" or "comparing" is a better suited word than "compared". If the process of comparison is in progress, "comparing" should be used and if process of comparison is complete and decision making is in progress then "comparison" should be used with appropriate preposition.

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Good post? Yes | No
    I had similar confusion some times back. Its difficult to decide between Compared to and with.
    For me thumb rule : Like items always use compared with and for Unlike items always use compared to(don't rely on ears).

    I know its difficult sometimes. But see the following examples as mentioned by you

    Scientists sometimes compare the human brain to a computer

    The police compared the forged signature with the original (signature)
    Earthquake in 87 was more devastating compared with earthquake in 2001.

    Example of broccili and ice-cream is not very good example,but since both eatable, some discount can be given.

    I don't think that GMAT asks such confusing question, where it is difficult to distinguish between like/unlike noun.

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    "In contrast to " is just fine...u can find examples in Official Guide supporting this...
    However it would be a gud idea to see if you can replace it with "unlike" which generally gives well-structured sentences....you can have a look at spidey's notes on this....

    Compared...... I dnt think it will be incorrect if you use "compared to" in that broccoli example....guys correct me if i am wrong..
    I agree with maniranjan that in cases like gregory peck/Jimmy stewart "than" would be a better option..
    With three days to go , i guess you need to trust whatever you have studied and dnt get so deep into english rules .... the exceptions never seem to end in any rule )
    All the best.....

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    Concur with shud.

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    Good post? Yes | No
    Here is the definitive answer to the question about in contrast withversusin contrast to. OG11, p.669, explanation to question 16:

    "The intent of the sentence is to contrast the honeybee and the yellow jacket. Correct idioms for such a contrast include: in contrast with x, y; in contrast to x, y; unlike x, y."

    In short, both forms are correct.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    And here's the definitive answer to the question about compare with versus compare to:

    THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. THEY ARE BOTH CORRECT, AND THEY ARE INTERCHANGEABLE.

    A study of Official Guide explanations has revealed that GMAT writers use the two forms interchangeably. Each form is sometimes used to point out similarities and sometimes used to point out differences. If there ever was a difference between compare with and compare to, that difference is no longer observed by even the best writers today. I have never seen a real GMAT SC item that tested the difference between compare with and compare to.

    But neither form is correct after better. After a comparative adjective or adverb, you must use than. Not "better actor compared with" or "better actor compared to," but "better actor than."
    Last edited by 800Bob; 06-21-2006 at 10:37 AM. Reason: Automerged post

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    YAY for Bob! I now go as a more relaxed human for the CAT tomorrow!

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