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Comparisons

Express similarity and difference (dissimilarity)

setting comparisons
 

Words for similarity and difference

SIMILARITY

Similarity is expressed with similar and similarly. Sameness is expressed with the same, alike.

The apples are the same. (NP)

(different pieces of fruit but same taste and color)

These apples are alike. (Adj)

The apples are similar. (Adj)

The apples ripen similarly(Adv)

This apple is like that apple. (PP)

DIFFERENCE

Dissimilarity is expressed with different, unalike, not alike, dissimilar, differently.

The apple and the orange are different. (Adj)

(speaking in general; "the" = classification)

The apple and the orange are unalike / not alike. (Adj)

The apple and the orange are dissimilar. (Adj)

The apple and the orange grow differently. (Adv)

The apple is unlike the orange. (P)
 

 

Related pages: Parallel Phrasing,  Like / As.

Pop-Q "Like/ As" and Pop-Q Looks like.

 

Lexical Categories Also called "Word Categories" or "Parts of Speech"

N – noun / pronoun; NP – noun phrase (the girls, the little girl, the girl who won)

V – verb; VP – verb phrase (enjoys very much, hardly ever rests)

Adj – adjective; AdjP – adjective phrase (really sharp, rather expensive)

Adv – adverb; AdvP – adverb phrase (very slowly, much too quickly)

P – preposition; PP – prepositional phrase

Detdeterminersarticles | quantifiers | demonstratives | possessives

 

 

Comparison

Expressions

 

Expressions for Similarity and Differences

SIMILARITY

Similarity (near equality) is expressed with as…as, the same…as, like, similar to, both X and Y are and other expressions.

This apple is as red as that apple (is).  nearly alike

This apple has the same flavor as that apple (has).   alike

This apple and the other apples are the same.
(similar in color, taste, or appearance not the same item)

This apple looks like that apple.

This apple is similar to that apple. 

This apple is like that apple. 

This apple is just the same as that apple. 

Both this apple and that one are sweet.

Neither this apple nor that apple is sweet.

DIFFERENCE

Dissimilarity (inequality) is expressed with not as…as, different…from/than, unlike, unequal, unsimilar and others.                          

The apple is different from/ than the orange

This apple is not as sweet as this orange.

The apple is more beautiful than the orange

The apple is much more beautiful than the orange.

The apple grows on a tree unlike the tomato

The apple is more like a pear than the orange

The skin of the apple contrasts to the skin of the orange.

The orange in contrast to the lemon is sweet.

The orange is sweet in contrast to the lemon which is bitter.

 

Related pages: The same…as vs As...as | More than | Both and

The comparative as…as expresses that two items have equivalent aspects (color, size, shape, taste, etc.). The first as modifiers the quality (Adj) or manner (Adv) of the item being compared. The second as is a connective preposition which is followed by a noun or a clause. If it is a clause, it is shortened to just the subject and the auxiliary form of the verb.

The paired expression the same…as expresses that two items are equal (but not necessarily the exact same item) —the same is followed by a noun such a size, weight, color (a measureable or comparable standard). The second as is a connective preposition which is followed by a noun or a clause. If it is a clause, it is shortened to just the subject and the auxiliary form of the verb.

The expression like expresses "in a similar way" (sounds like, seems like, looks like). In traditional grammar, it is followed by a noun phrase [like + NP] only.  That is, using like + clause is considered informal. However, language usage dating back to the14th century and current usage does not support this rule. In linguistic description, like is a preposition that accepts a noun, a noun phrase or a clause as its complement. (Your apple looks like mine (N); Your apple looks like the one that I am holding (NP); Your apple looks like it fell on the floor (Cl). See Like vs. As and Grammar Notes for resources on this subject.

 

 

 

Comparison / Contrast

Connective Adverbs "Transition Words"

 

 

Connective adverbs for similarity and difference  (Connective Adverbs)

SIMILARITY

A transition word ( a connective adverb) transitions the reader from the thought in one sentence to a similar thought in the next.  The adverbial is an adverb (-ly, -wise) or a prepositional phrase.

This apple is tart.  Similarly, this one is sour. (Connective Adv)

This apple is tart.  In the same way, this one is sour.  (Connective PP)

That orange is delicious.  Likewise, this apple is very flavorful. (Connective Adv)

That orange is delicious.  Equally, this apple is very flavorful. (Connective Adv)

This orange is flavorful.  In a similar manner, this apple is very tasty. (Connective PP)

DIFFERENCE

These transition words, called connective adverbials, are used to relate the information in two clauses.  The adverb relates to the entire clause rather than the verb within the clause.

The apple is red.  In contrast, the orange is orange. (Connective PP)

Some people think the apple is orange.  On the contrary, the apple is red. on the contrary = not true!  (Connective PP)

While / Whereas the orange is high in fiber, the apple is not. (Connective PP)

 

The orange is high in fiber. However, the apple is not. (Connective Adv)

On the one hand the lemon is high in fiber, on the other hand it is too bitter to eat. "both sides of the coin"  (Connective PP)

 

Also see: Contrasts - But v. But Still | Connective Adverbs

Word Categories: N – Noun; V – Verb; Aux – Auxiliary; Adj – Adjective; Adv – Adverb; P – Preposition; Det –Determiner. See Word Categories.

Phrasal Categories: NPNoun Phrase; VPVerb Phrase; AdjPAdjective Phrase; AdvPAdverb Phrase; PP – Prepositional Phrase; DP – Determinative Phrase.

Clausal Categories: Cls – clause; Ffinite clause; NF – nonfinite clause: Ger – gerund; Inf – infinitive; PPart – past participle.

 

 

 

Comparative Nouns

-er and more

 

Comparing qualities of nouns

-ER

Use the suffix -er with one syllable words to make a comparative word form  with than.

This apple is better than that one (is).   (good - better)

This apple is redder than the other one (is).   (red)
 

MORE

Use the more with multiple-syllable words to make a comparative clause with than.

This apple is more beautiful than that one (is). 

This apple is more flavorful than the other one (is). 

 

For practices, see More/-er…than |  Most/-est | Much v. More | Fewer v. Less

Also see Farther / Further.

Comparative forms:   much–more–most / many–more–most

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

Error and Solution

FOCUS

This one is more bigger than that one.

It look likes a good idea.

The movie was similarly to the "Rocky".

These cherries are not as sweeter as those.

We had to drive further than we wanted to.

That's more better.  (mo' better  "great" – slang )
 

SOLUTION

This one is bigger than that one.
(Use one comparative form. In this case, just use the -er suffix for a one syllable word.)

It looks like a good idea.  (Place the -s after the verb as the 3rd person singular marker.)

The movie was similar to "Rocky".  (Use the adjective form of "similar" in this expression  "similar to".)

These cherries are not as sweet as those. (Use one comparative form. In this case, jus t use as…as .)

We had to walk farther than we wanted to.  (Adj)

We drove a bit futher. (N)

 

 

 

 

 

References

Texts with Comparatives

Azar, Betty Schrampfer. "Comparisons." Fundamentals of English Grammar, 2nd ed. Prentice Hall Regents, 1992, Ch. 13.

Huddleston, Rodney D., and Geoffrey K. Pullum. "Comparative Constructions."The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge UP, 2002, Ch. 13.

Murphy, Raymond. "Comparatives." English Grammar in Use. 5th ed., Cambridge UP, 2019, Units 105 – 107.

Swan, Michael. "Comparison." Practical English Usage. 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2005, pp. 135–141.

 

Practice 1

Comparing and Contrasting

Fisherman's Wharf
 

Complete the comparative expression.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Expressions of Comparison

 

 

 

Select the word or the expression that best completes the sentence.

  1. Decide whether to use the noun or the adjective word form.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Beaches

cars on Florida beach
 

 

Read for Errors

Florida beaches are very different to California beaches. Beaches in the California have biggers waves due to the stronger tidal action of the Pacific Ocean.  Also, the beach drops away into deep water more quicker. That is, after a short walk, a swimmer has to start swimming to stay above the water. Once in the water, a swimmer sees a lot of kelp (sea weed) which can make the sand on California beaches look dirty than the sand on Florida beaches.

Contrasting, in Florida the water is more warmer and calmer because the Atlantic ocean produces less wave action. Contrary to California, the Florida beaches slope gently into the water.

A swimmer can walk farther before having to swim. The water also has life in it – sharks. While a swimmer can encounter sharks in shallow water in both Florida and California, it happens oftener in Florida. 

Similar like California beaches, Florida beaches have beautiful white sand, which is perfect for sunbathing and sand castles. However, watch out for cars when lying on Florida beaches!  Where as cars are not permitted on California beaches, they are permitted on several Florida Beaches. On the one hand, the sunrise is beautiful on a Florida beach, the sunset is beautiful on a California beach.

 

 

 

Edit for errors.

  1. Edit the sentence(s) in the text box.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.
19.
Florida beaches are very different to California beaches.


20.
Beaches in the California have biggers waves due to the stronger tidal action of the Pacific Ocean.


21.
Also, the beach drops away into deep water more quicker.


22.
That is, after a short walk, a swimmer has to start swimming to stay above the water.


23.
Once in the water, a swimmer sees a lot of kelp (sea weed) which can make the sand on California beaches look dirty than the sand on Florida beaches.


24.
Contrasting, in Florida the water is more warmer and calmer because the Atlantic ocean produces less wave action.


25.
Contrary to California, the Florida beaches slope gently into the water.


26.
A swimmer can walk farther before having to swim.


27.
While a swimmer can encounter sharks in shallow water in both Florida and California, it happens oftener in Florida. 


28.
Similar like California beaches, Florida beaches have beautiful white sand, which is perfect for sunbathing and sand castles.


29.
Where as cars are not permitted on California beaches, they are permitted on several Florida Beaches.


30.
On the one hand, the sunrise is beautiful on a Florida beach, the sunset is beautiful on a California beach.