I am not sure what is compared in this phrase but it seems that people believe it as the correct word.

She is nice, compared to you.

You're nicer, compared to him.

But why? What makes compared correct? Grammatically a past verb needs a subject right? She compared her car with the new one this one is grammatical correct, but this one is not The car is better, compared to her old car which one is the subject? As a beginner in english, I'd rather take comparing as it is not against what I've learned

She is nicer, comparing to you

Comparing is the act of to compare. A gerund doesn't need subjects:

swimming is nice.

It's not done there, the whole thing is getting worse after someone says that compared is not a preposition nor conjuction but a plain past participle, everytime I ask people they say that's correct BUT no one has been able to explain it.

I may be wrong as a very beginner English speaker but please help me to figure out regarding this problem, what is the state of compared here? Is that past participle, past tense, conjunction or preposition, and what is the rules that make it correct?, thanks in advance! It has driven my concentration recently.

  • 1
    Short answer: Think of it as like a passive voice. In "She is nice, compar___ to you", "she" is being compared by the speaker. She is not the one doing the comparing. In a sentence like "The car is better, compared to her old car", The car is still the subject of the main clause (the car is better). compared to her old car is a participial phrase. It's not really correct to say "a gerund doesn't need subjects", because the gerund is the subject. It's not that a verb needs a subject, a sentence needs a subject.
    – stangdon
    Dec 28, 2016 at 14:39
  • Oh okay so it's basically a passive, She is nice, she is being compared by me to her? But without repetitive subject? So it's correct to say She is nice, being compared to you? Dec 28, 2016 at 14:50
  • "Being compared to you" is not correct in that context. In a phrase like that, you don't need a subject. That's kind of the main difference between a phrase and a sentence or a clause - a phrase doesn't have to have a subject and a verb, it just helps to explain something about the main clause.
    – stangdon
    Dec 28, 2016 at 15:13
  • Oh alright I've just read the participle phrase article so it's just a group of words that describes a noun right? If it's correct your comment helps me a lot! Thanks in advance, you have to post an answer for this. Dec 28, 2016 at 15:21

3 Answers 3


You can think of it this way

She is nicer, compared to you.
she is nicer, when compared to you.
she is nicer, if compared to you.

You're nicer, compared to him.
you're nicer, when compared to him.
you're nicer, if compared to him.

the same as

You're taller when measured against him.
you are taller than he is

If you'd rather use "comparing"

Comparing you and her, she is nicer.
comparing you to her, she is nicer.

Comparing you and him, you are nicer.
comparing you to him, you are nicer

  • "comparing you to her" seems wrong to me because it must be omitting the subject "she" to form the sentence, which messes up the meaning.
    – Toma
    Nov 11, 2021 at 13:13

What makes compared correct?

In this:

She is nice, compared to you.

you are qualifying she is nice in the same manner as you would qualify a noun with an adjective - you are answering questions like "what kind of X", "how many of X", "what qualities does X have."

So you must use the "adjective" form of verbs which are participials. Gerunds appear where nouns go, not modifiers, so they are not expected to directly modify other nouns.

It is true the present participle and gerund are the same forms. However, it does not normally make logical sense for you to render a judgement (she is nice) if you have not completed comparing, otherwise how could you say that? So you must say compared unless you explain otherwise with additional words.

You could say this:

Right now I think she is nice, in comparing her to you (implying you may change your mind when comparing is completed)

  • 1
    I am still confused what is the state of compared here? Is that past participle? So we can basically use past participle without subject?. My car is awesome, driven to the lake and broken. Is this correct? Dec 28, 2016 at 14:42
  • I think but am not 100% sure that participles don't have subjects since they modify a noun, and that any time you see a possessive determiner or object pronoun in front of an -ing word (e.g. Him walking the dog made me mad), which is the way you'd express the "subject" of a verbal, it's going to be a gerund.
    – LawrenceC
    Dec 28, 2016 at 14:46
  • I mean that in this sentence, "She is nice, compared to you" what is the state of "Compared" is that past participle and what is the subject? Or it's a passive that links to the main subject without repetitive subject such as "she is nice, she is being compared by me to her". Or past participle has particular usage to be without subject, as that being said above, which I've never learned anywhere, all my question is what is "compared" let's keep the topic to this Dec 28, 2016 at 14:56

It is definitely a passive voice. You could think it like this: She is nice, compared to you. She is nice, which is compared to you. In the case which is could be deleted gramatically ,if you know this. the which stands for the statement she is nice, and the statement is correct when it is compared to you.

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