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No comparison

No comparison

No comparison

Can anyone give me an example where one can legitimately apply this conundrum?

We hear it all the time and I found myself using it also when what we really mean is that the comparison is huge.  But in the depths of my little pea brain, this little voice kept calling me to reason.  I have a fellow worker who says I think too much and he is likely right on spot.

Anyway, what finally came to me (it was probably that little voice again) and what I now say when I have some cognitive presence of thought (see the redundancy thread) is "there is no contest."

Jesus is THE life,

RE: No comparison

That's a good point metman, especially when used in the context of comparing things that are on opposite ends of the spectrum (the huge comparison).

But what about those situations where two things are being compared using a metric that does not apply to both items.  That is often summed up in the phrase "comparing apples and oranges."

BTW, why can't you compare apples and oranges?

RE: No comparison

De gustibus non est disputandum.

RE: No comparison

Shouldn't the phrase "huge comparison" be reserved for the comparison of two very large things?


The phrase "there is no contest" is a metaphor, of the sports subset.  It should correctly be applied in cases where the merits of two items are suitable for direct comparative evaluation, however it is apparent upon cursory evaluation that one is far superior to the other.


I can compare apples to oranges.  In fact, there are many aspects where they are similar:

Apples and oranges both grow on trees.

Apples and oranges are both generally spherical in shape.

I like the taste of both apples and oranges.

Or, cases where there are dissimilarities:

The skin of an orange is thick, while the skin of an apple is thin.

The name of the orange is also its color, however this is not true for many varieties of apples.

RE: No comparison

"Incomparable" is generally used for something that is superior to ALL other things, while "no comparison" is a broader term that is of a relative nature.

Much like the discussion of "same difference" and "no difference" these comparisons can be couched mathematically:

incomparable --> A >> anything else
no comparison -->  A >> B


RE: No comparison

From Dictionary.com



1.  Being such that comparison is impossible; incommensurable.

2.  So outstanding as to be beyond comparison; unsurpassed.  "

It would be very difficult to come up with a general case where you could apply usage 1 as "A is incomparable to B".  There is likely always some attribute that could be compared.  It seems some qualifiers are necessary.  "In regards to the ability to transport freight from one place to another, a train and a pencil are incomparable."

Usage 2 seems to be the more common, and is generally used as hyperbole.

RE: No comparison

Maybe I’m missing the point, but doesn’t the accuracy of the claim depend a lot on the qualifications of the person making the claim, and in particular specific characteristics used to make that claim?  An assertion of superiority made by a widget salesman deserves more scrutiny and typically far more effort on the salesman’s part to establish and support the claim.  

As implied by sleipnir, comparison of apples to oranges is certainly possible, but in most cases requires a lot more time and resources to define criteria for comparison.

RE: No comparison

I take "no comparison" to mean that any category with similarities is irrelevant.  The fact that apples and oranges both grow on trees and are spherical is irrelevant to a discussion of what fruit you could effectively use in a pie.


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