Difference Between Compare and Contrast

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).

What does Compare mean?

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?

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.

Difference Between Compare and Contrast

What is the difference between Compare and Contrast?

The word compare is derived from the Latin ‘comparare’ whereas the word contrast is derived from the Latin ‘contrastare’.

  • You use the word compare when you have the intention of representing or describing the similarities between two objects.
  • You can also use compare when you want to make a comparison between two objects.
  • Comparison is used in the sense of examining the qualities with a view to discover resemblances or differences.
  • You use the word contrast when you have the intention of differentiating between two objects.

This is the basic difference between compare and contrast.