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Time and time again I see the the expression (usually as a title above a plot): "Comparison of X and Y", where it should be "Comparison between X and Y".  Similarly, "Comparison of X, Y and Z" where the word should be "among".  Anyone here prepared to defend "of"?

On a related topic, I once got pulled up on an essay at university, because I used the expression "compared to" instead of "compared with".  "Compared to" is allegorical, whereas "compared with" is literal.  Again, anyone prepared to argue otherwise?


- Steve

RE: Comparisons

"Compared to" is used to show the similarity between two items with respect to some attribute.

"Compare with" is used to line up two items side by side to show both their similarities and differences.

The difference between "among" and "between" is that between is used when referring to two entities, and among is used when referring to three or more entities.

Good Luck
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

RE: Comparisons

"Would a comparison of the job spec's be useful"

ponder  May be grammatically incorrect ... but just sounds right to my fading earsight.

RE: Comparisons

isn't this the same as "different to" and "different from" which i thought were equivalent

RE: Comparisons

Guys, I think you all need to say "Yes, SomptingGuy, You are right."

Note how he says:


Anyone here prepared to defend "of"?


Again, anyone prepared to argue otherwise?

This sounds to me like arguing would not be a safe thing to do when SG is in a belligerent mood.
It might be the football, concern that the Budget might put the price of beer up (it didn't thankfully) or the fact the Sussex police are putting more unmarked cars on the road in an attempt to catch more motorcyclists, but whatever it is I suspect SG is not in a mood to be argued with.

Thus the word we are looking for here is "rhetorical".




RE: Comparisons

PS I think SG is right anyway.
If not its certainly plausible enough for me.



RE: Comparisons

I must admit that I can't find an "of" reference either.  It just sounds lazy to me.  When there are two things to compare, "between" seems so much more appropriate.

This came up the other day when an American colleague of mine showed me a plot he'd recently made with "between" in the title.  I had always assumed "of" was an Americanism.

- Steve

RE: Comparisons

I think "of" and "and" work in a distributive sense:

"Description of X and Y" = "Description of X and description of Y"

so that X and Y are distinct and this is just a language short-cut.  The same is not true for "comparison".

- Steve

RE: Comparisons

You have a misapprehesion of which words create which effect in your sentence.  It's not the difference between "of" and "between" that makes the difference in your examples, it's the difference between "comparison" and "description" and what the implications are to their objects.

By your logic, "comparison between X and Y" should also be incorrect, because it should mean "comparison between X" and "comparison between Y".

Have I taught you kids nothing?  You cannot apply logic to prepositions.


Eng-Tips policies:  FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: Comparisons

... and many times you cannot apply logic to the English language. Well, not logical logic anyway.

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