Comparing and Contrasting in English

Even if you’ve only started learning English, this vocabulary will be useful for you. Also, if you are about to sit an English exam for an international certificate such as FCE, CAE, TOEFL, IELTS, etc, or simply need to write an essay for homework, this post will be extremely useful for you. So, let’s dive into words and phrases you use for comparing and contrasting in English.

Comparative form 

First of all, we use the comparative form of adjectives and adverbs to compare things or people.

  • London is a far bigger city than Vienna.
  • People sleep less as they are older.
  • Ryan drives faster than I do.

Compared to/with

This phrase is normally used for comparing, especially when it is about numbers and amounts of something.

  • This novel is ridiculous compared to/with his previous one.
  • The number of people who died in air crashes last year was 13% smaller compared to/with this year.
  • It’s nothing compared to/with the amount of pain I felt when you left and broke my heart.

In case you want to emphasize a large difference in something, you can also use the phrase “as compared to”

  • The life expectancy of women in the UK is 78 as compared to the life expectancy of 49 a century ago.
  • The profit they made this year is much higher as compared to the profit they made in the first year.

Comparing and contrasting in English


Meaning: the same, in the same way.

  • Pam took a pencil and started writing and told the students to do likewise.
  • When Boris started running in the morning before work, his girlfriend thought it would be good for her to do likewise.
  • ‘I hate to write reports from the meetings.’ ‘Likewise’


Meaning: similar, in a similar way.

  • All his letters were similarly written.
  • Similarly to his brother, he showed great interest in literature and film.
  • In order to grow, plants need water. Similarly, they must have sufficient light, as well.
  • Two years after the Coronavirs pandemic started, the cost of food has risen. Similarly, the cost of clothing has gone up.

Comparing and contrasting in English

 Comparing and Contrasting in English
Comparing and Contrasting in English


Meaning: untypical, different from.

  • Tom was very polite, unlike most children in the camp.
  • He felt that the woman he met last night was unlike any other woman he’d ever met before.
  • Unlike you, I am always on time.

In proportion to 

Meaning: use it to compare something concerning amount or size.

  • American national debt is higher than British in proportion to their average incomes.
  • Indian people consider a man happy in proportion to the number of children he has.
  • The dog’s ears were big in proportion to its head.

In contrast

Use it to express the difference between things, people, ideas.

  • In contrast to boys, baby girls usually start talking earlier.
  • Young rabbits have an appearance like adult ones, in contrast with baby swans which don’t look like their parents at all.
  • In the summer months, the weather on the island is dry and warm. In contrast, the rest of the year is rainy, especially between November and March.

Comparing and contrasting in English

As opposed to

Meaning: instead of, in contrast of.

  • You should write what you think about this matter, as opposed to copying it from the Internet.
  • As opposed to some other animals, we know that chimpanzees can recognize themselves in the mirror.
  • The cost of this car is $23,000, as opposed to the last year’s $25,000.

Different from

  • Although they are twins, they are very different from each other.
  • This book is quite different from anything I’ve ever read before.
  • Ever since he got back from prison, he’s different from the man we used to know.
 Comparing and Contrasting in English
Comparing and Contrasting in English


Use it to contrast two people or things.

  • He’s a slim, tall man whereas his wife is short and chubby.
  • Whereas butter is made from the butterfat of milk, margarine is made mainly of refined vegetable oil and water.
  • I like oatmeal for breakfast whereas Sara prefers a big English breakfast.

Make/draw a parallel

Use the phrase to say how similar two or more things or people are.

  • In her documentary, the director makes a parallel between the eating habits of people now and 30 years ago.
  • Tom drew a parallel between the two writers’ lives and works in his paper.

Comparing and contrasting in English

Make/draw a distinction

This phrase is to show how different two or more things or people are.

  • In his book, he drew a clear distinction between the habits of people living in rural and urban areas.
  • The law draws a clear distinction between employed and unemployed people related to paying taxes.

On the one hand, on the other hand

Use these phrases to compare two different facts of the situation.

  • On the one hand, while I enjoy the benefits of living in the country, on the other hand, I sometimes miss hustle and bustle of the city.
  • On the one hand, he wanted a job with a higher salary, but on the other hand, he didn’t want to leave his colleagues as they made good friends.

You can use these idioms to emphasise the difference between two people or things.

Comparing and contrasting in English

 A far cry from

  • The village she was born in was a far cry from the big city she has been living in now.
  • What the government did during their mandate was a far cry from what they had promised to do.

A world of difference

  • A new roof made a world of difference in the old house.
  • There’s a world of difference between saying and doing, isn’t there?
Comparing and Contrasting in English
Comparing and contrasting in English

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