compare vs contrast definition

Compare VS. Contrast Definition

compare vs contrast definition

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Compare VS. Contrast Definition
Compare VS. Contrast Definition

 

Compare vs Contrast

Since compare and contrast are two terms that often come together in questions, let us look at the difference between compare and contrast. Compare and contrast are the two terms that you normally tend to use when you find similarities and yet differences between two objects or things. There is a difference between the two words, compare and contrast as well. However, before scrutinizing the difference between compare and contrast, let us first have a look at the general information about the two words compare and contrast. Both compare and contrast are used as nouns as well as verbs.

The origin of compare lies in the late Middle English. There are even phrases that use the word compare as in compare notes. Compare, as a transitive verb, is usually followed by ‘to’ or ‘with,’ as like “X compared to Y ” or “compare X with Y.” Then, the word contrast was formed in the late seventeenth century from the French words contraste (noun) and contraster (verb).

Main Difference

The main difference between compare and contrast is that ‘compare’ means to represent things or objects in respect to similarity and ‘contrast’ means to represent things in respect of differences.

Compare and contrast are two words that we often use together. You might have noticed this phrase ‘compare and contrast’ in essay topics and other open questions. But do you know the difference between compare and contrast? Compare means to examine the character or qualities of something in order to discover similarities or differences.  Contrast means to examine the character or qualities of something in order to discover the differences. Therefore, the main difference between compare and contrast is that compare looks at both similarities and differences whereas contrast only looks at the differences.

Comparison Chart

Compare Contrast
‘Compare’ means to look for the qualities of something to discover similarities or differences. Contrast means to look for the qualities of something to discover only dissimilarities.
Grammatical Category
Verb Noun and verb
Used With
Different things Similar things
Refers To
Similarities and differences Differences
Signal Words
Alike, as well as, compared with, same as, similar to, etc. Different from, in contrast, more than, less than, etc.

Comparison Table Between Compare and Contrast

Parameters of Comparison Compare Contrast
Definition When we use the word “compare” in a sentence, we basically mean that we are drawing similarities between two different objects or situations. When we use “contrast”, we draw differences when we “contrast” the same. The literal translation of the word contrast is “as opposed to” or “unlike”.
Characteristic Draws parallels between two situations. Draws differences between two situations.
Verb form Comparing, In comparison to, etc. Contrary to, In contrast with, etc.
Example To compare is to weigh consequences. To contrast is to underline the differences.
Synonyms Verb form: Weighing, matching, conduct, etc. Verb form: To juxtapose, unlike, as opposed to, etc.

What does Compare mean?

Compare VS. Contrast Definition
Compare VS. Contrast Definition

The verb compare carries with it the meaning of ‘to represent or describe similar or liken’. If you have the intention of representing the similarities between two objects, then you use compare followed by ‘to’. Compare also means ‘examining the qualities with a view to discover resemblances or differences.’ In this case, compare is usually followed by ‘with.’ In other words, compare can mean simply showing similarities between two objects; it can also mean showing similarities as well as differences between two objects. Comparison, the noun form of compare, is the basis of the figure of speech called Simile. You compare between two similar objects. It is usual to compare the face of a lady to the moon. Look at the following sentence,

Her face is like the moon.

Here, the word ‘moon’ is the standard of comparison and ‘face’ is the object of comparison’. You have drawn a comparison between the face and the moon. In other words, you have likened her face with the moon in terms of beauty.

What does Contrast mean?

Compare VS. Contrast Definition
Compare VS. Contrast Definition

The verb contrast carries the meaning  ‘to compare in respect to differences’. As you use compare to represent similarities between two objects, if you have the intention of differentiating between two objects, then you contrast. At the same time, contrast focuses mainly on the differences between two objects. It throws more light on differences than similarities. Look at the following sentence,

Her face is beautiful than the moon.

Here, again the word ‘moon’ is the standard of comparison and the word ‘face’ is the object of comparison. However, here you have differentiated between the face and the moon by showing some difference between the two in terms of beauty. Hence, the intention was to contrast the face and the moon. You can see the same contrasting in the following sentence as well.

Her laughter was sweeter than the piano music.

 

What is an example of compare and contrast?

Generally speaking, comparing is showing the similarities, and contrasting is showing differences between two things that are related in some way. For example, you wouldn’t compare/contrast reading a book to driving a car, but you would compare reading a book to reading with an e-reader.

Learn The Compare and Contrast Definition

How do you write a 5 paragraph compare and contrast essay?

 

How to Write a 5-Paragraph Compare and Contrast Essay

  1. Pick your topic carefully.
  2. Organize your ideas.
  3. Develop your thesis statement.
  4. Create an outline.
  5. Use supporting evidence.
  6. Write, proofread and edit.

What does it mean to compare and contrast in an essay?

A compare and contrast essay examines two or more topics (objects, people, or ideas, for example), comparing their similarities and contrasting their differences.

How do you compare and contrast paragraph?

A comparison or contrast paragraph should be tightly focused on a meaningful difference or similarity between two things, people, places or ideas. You should use specific details and examples to explain why the difference or similarity matters.

How do you compare and contrast two things?

Comparing and contrasting means looking for similarities and differences between two things, which you can see nicely in a Venn diagram. Compare and contrast is a rhetorical style that discusses the similarities and differences of two or more things: ideas, concepts, items, places, etc.

Why is it important to know the similarities and differences between two or more things?

It is important to know the similarities and differences between two or more things because it is the way of looking at objects or ideas and thinking about how they are alike and different in order to come up with the right decision in life leading to a good future.

Compare VS. Contrast Definition
Compare VS. Contrast Definition

Key Differences

  1. Compare means to see the similarity conversely contrast means to see the difference and Compare is used with two different things on the flip side contrast is used with two similar things
  2. Compare means to represent things or objects in respect of similarity whereas contrast means to represent things in respect of differences and Compare looks at both similarities and differences on the other hand contrast only looks at the differences.

 

Conclusion

So now we understand the clear difference between compare and contrast. While compare corresponds to calculating the similarities in a given situation, contrast digs for the differences in the same. While we are deducing similarities when we “compare” two different situations/objects or almost similar situations/objects, we deduce differences when we “contrast” the same. Other than inferring the differences in their meaning, one struggles to find any differences between the two. Don’t forget to also use the synonyms of these conventional words to add charm to your language.

 

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