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Write the Right Word: Compared to or Compared With

How to word comparisons can be confusing. Use “compared with” when indicating the differences in two or more items by placing them together. For example: “North Dakota producers harvested 3.46 million acres of corn in 2012, compared with a little more than 2 million in 2011.” Use “compared to” when you are indicating that two or more items are similar and your comparison is understandable without elaboration. For example: “The speaker compared her work for women’s rights to Susan B. Anthony’s campaign for women’s suffrage.” Or “The author said he wouldn’t compare his work to that of a writer such as Hemingway.” You’ll find you need to use “compared with” most often because when we make comparisons, we generally point out the differences in items. Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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