The difference between the verbs ‘to compare’ and ‘to contrast’ seems to have caused some heated debate. Probably more than it should. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s the perenial potato debate. Which do you prefer? Sweet potatoes or old fashioned regular potatoes? Or how about yams? Surely a discussion about potatoes couldn’t cause so much argument, could it?
Let’s look at the meaning of ‘to contrast’ first because it’s easier to understand:
C2 [ I ]If one thing contrasts with another, it is very different from it:
So the potatoes are rounder, and obviously, the sweet potatoes are ummm sweeter. I’m not doing very well here….
Cleveland Health Clinic explain that, “Sweet potatoes provide 400% of your daily requirement of vitamin A. They also have more vitamin C, fewer calories, more fibre and fewer total carbs than white potatoes, despite more sugar. But don’t forget white potatoes — they’re more versatile in cooking and less expensive.“
So that’s the contrast sorted. Fine. We’re happy with that. One is usually white the other is usually orange. Contrast! Easy… So, to compare:
But – we also use ‘to compare’ – to talk about similarities and to decide which thing is better. We can make chips out of potatoes and sweet potatoes; the taste is different but overall I prefer regular potatoes:
compare verb [ T ] (CONSIDER SIMILARITIES)
does not compare
If something or someone does not compare with something or someone else, the second thing is very much better than the first:
- Ranting and raving for one minute without stopping.
- Ranting about marriage for 3 minutes
- Marriage vocabulary & idioms knowledge check
- Cost Benefit Analysis of marriage issues
- Reading & ordering a Pros & Cons essay
- Using linking words to connect contrasting ideas in essays: despite & whereas
- Writing a Pros & Cons essay (homework)
Marriage statistics & differences around the world
World Marriage Data
Do married women live longer than single women?
Indeed, statistically speaking, men get a much better deal out of marriage than their wives—married men tend to live many years longer than single men, whereas married women live only a little bit longer than single women.
Do men live longer if they are married?
Men who have marital partners also live longer than men without spouses; men who marry after age 25 get more protection than those who tie the knot at a younger age, and the longer a man stays married, the greater his survival advantage over his unmarried peers.
Marriage discussion questions
Do a cost benefits analysis of:
- Age difference
- Getting married multiple times
- Age of marriage
- Arranged marriage
- Blind date
- Love at first sight
- having 4 wives or husbands (polygamy)/monogamy (single partner)
- Marriage vows
- Welfare & financial benefits of marriage
- Being common-law partners
Dating & Marriage vocabulary
Using contrasting linking words quizzes & explanations:
We use the conjunction whereas to indicate a contrast between two facts or ideas:
He loves foreign holidays, whereas his wife prefers to stay at home.
Whereas most new PCs have several USB slots, older ones often only had one.
Whereas means the same as while in sentences expressing contrasts. It does not mean the same as while when while refers to time:
The south has a hot, dry climate, whereas/while the north has a milder, wetter climate.
The secretary took care of my appointments while I was away from the office.
whereas I was away from the office.
In spite of and despite are prepositional expressions.
In spite of and despite have a similar meaning to although or even though. They express a contrast between two things. They are both more common in writing than in speaking. Despite is a little more formal than in spite of.
We usually use in spite of and despite with a noun:
He got the job in spite of his prison record.
[recession is a time when the economy of a country is not good]
John’s company is doing extremely well despite the recession.
We can also use in spite of and despite with –ing:
He was very fast in spite of being terribly overweight.
They arrived late despite leaving in plenty of time.
We don’t use a that-clause after in spite of or despite. We use in spite of the fact that or despite the fact that:
When they arrived at Malaga it was hot, in spite of the fact that it was only the end of April.
in spite of that it was only the end of April
In spite of is written as three separate words. We never use of with despite:
They enjoyed the rides in spite of the long queues. (or … despite the long queues.)
inspite the long queues or … despite of the long queues.
Ball and chain – old fashioned & sexist idiom:
cost benefit analysis – used especially in business
pro noun [ C ] (ADVANTAGE)