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(OP)
Should we say "compared with" or "compared to" ?

RE: Compare

according to oxford dictionary you compare someting to point out or descride the resemblance of something with (liken to) and you compare with means be similar to or have a specified relationdship with another thing or person.

RE: Compare

According to Fowler, which is the Bible in such matters, if "compare" is used in the sense "suggest or state a similarity", it should be followed by "to". If it is used in the sense "examine or set forth the details of a supposed similarity or estimate its degree", it should be followed by "with". So if one says "he compared me to Bill Clinton" it means (heaven forbid) that I was comparable to him or he put me in the same class; if one says "he compared me with Bill Clinton" it means that he instituted a detailed comparison or pointed out where and how far I resembled or failed to resemble him.

RE: Compare

(OP)
EnglishMuffin, do you mean that A compared with B draws attention to the difference, while A compared to B stresses their similarity ? Thanks.

RE: Compare

I guess that would be roughly right. The words I wrote are not mine but an exact transcript of Fowler, except that I replaced "Demosthenes" with "Bill Clinton". (Heaven forbid again!)

RE: Compare

I interpreted Fowler a little differently.  It seems that "compare with" is defining the metrics and context in which to make the comparision, and "compare to" is more towards the results of the comparison.

RE: Compare

Well, make of the Fowler excerpt what you will. As I said, it's an exact transcription. My interpretation is that if one says "compare to" one has pretty much decided that the two are similar and one wishes to draw attention to it. If one says "compare with", one is more interested in exploring the detailed differences and similarities.

RE: Compare

After re-reading your post, and seeing that the examples are also from Fowler, I would ask to retract my previous statement.  It seems that “compare to” does highlight the similarities, but “compare with” seems to more of a detailed and objective study, taking into account both similarities and differences.

RE: Compare

Compared to this string, nitpicking is getting close to what we need to effectivley communicate.

Compared with this string, nitpicking is not very close to what we need to effetively communicate.

Jesus is THE life,
Leonard

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