While attempting GMAT sentence correction questions, there are certain words and phrases that you must pay especially close attention to. The correct idiomatic use of such words and phrases can shift subtly but significantly, depending on the exact context. They are often used to set up highly complex questions that require a keen eye and a firm understanding of these words and phrases to navigate. In this brief article, we will cover the use of the phrases "compared with" and "compared to" on the GMAT.
The Difference Between "Compared With" and "Compared To"
While both of these phrases are, obviously, used to denote a comparison of qualities between two or more things, they are used in two slightly different contexts. The phrase "compared with" is used to compare similar things, while the phrase "compared to" is used to compare dissimilar things. Let us illustrate this concept through the following examples:
Example 1 - Compared with his father, Jack is taller.
In this sentence, two human beings are being compared. As both objects of comparison are the same type of thing, "compared with" is the right phrase to use.
Example 2 - Compared to the pillar, Jack is shorter.
Conversely, in example 2 the comparison is between two things of different types, a human being, and an inanimate object. Thus, the correct phrase to use is "compared to".
Please note, here we have chosen a fairly straightforward example to make sure that the concept is clearly conveyed. On the GMAT, you might find this concept used in a more complex manner. Keep this rule in mind to tackle such sentence correction questions.
This article has deliberately been kept brief; for a more elaborate explanation, please refer to Experts' Global's Stage One Sentence Correction videos.