Compare and Contrast
“Compare with” = contrast; What are the circumstances by which one would use contrast as the verb instead?
In general use, such as in writing a “compare/contrast” essay, compare means “find the similarities” and contrast means “find the differences.”
Definitions from the OED:
compare:. trans. To speak of or represent as similar; to liken.
contrast: To set in opposition … in order to show strikingly their different qualities or characteristics, and compare their superiorities or defects.
Compare derives from Latin comparare “to liken, to compare.” Contrast derives from Latin contra, “against” plus stare, “to stand.” In Middle English the word was used in the literal sense “to withstand” or “fight against” as in battle. The word fell out of use until the end of the 17th century when it was reintroduced as an art term meaning
to place in such juxtaposition as to bring strongly out differences of form, colour, etc., and thus to produce a striking effect.
For differences in meaning between compare to and compare with, see Compared “to” or Compared “with”.
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