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Correct usage of words Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Saturday, June 5, 2021 5:02:08 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
Posts: 7,152
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Suicide prevention agency Samaritans of Singapore saw an increase of more than 22 per cent in the number of calls attended to on their 24-hour hotline in March 2020 as compared to that of the same period in 2019.

Likewise, the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) received an increase in helpline calls by 50 per cent in February and March 2020 compared to the average calls from April 2019 to Jan 2020.

1. Should it be "compared with" instead?
2. Should it be "increase in the number of helpline calls" instead?

Thanks!
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, June 5, 2021 7:50:18 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 35,277
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
1. One can use "compare to" and "compare with" - there is very little difference.

Some people say "compare X with Y" when they are trying to show the similarity of X and Y - and say "compare X to Y" when they are showing the differences between X and Y.

Sometimes, it is not clear which is intended, and some people don't bother making the distinction.

In this case, the article is showing the difference in numbers of calls, so I would use "compare to" - though I wouldn't say "compare with" is wrong.

2. The first sentence says "number of calls". The second sentence says "Likewise", so there is no need to specify "number of" again.

However, there is a mistake in the second sentence. SAMH received an increase of 50%. not SAMH received an increase by 50%.
The writer got it right in the first sentence, but not in the second.
Bathcoup
Posted: Sunday, June 6, 2021 5:17:45 AM
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Joined: 2/24/2021
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Drag0nspeaker has given a good explanation (he always does). I have a couple of minors things to add.

I'd use "over" to replace "as compared to that of" in the first sentence to avoid repetition, and "monthly" should be placed somewhere in the second one.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Sunday, June 6, 2021 5:35:26 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/21/2009
Posts: 44,086
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Location: Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland
One day I happened to find nearly hidden options in the TFD main page. On the left pane you can find a section titled For Surfers.
One of the links to useful pages is English Usage Topics. By some strange coincident the first entry there is Compare To or Compare With ;-)
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, June 6, 2021 2:11:32 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 35,277
Neurons: 241,541
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Interesting!

Thanks JJ!
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