When I have to compare two things A and B, can I say "a comparison between A and B" or "a comparison of A and B". Which is best ?

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To keep things super-duper simple:

Both are fine. They mean exactly the same thing.

Use either one. No one will misunderstand you. Both are equally common in everyday usage. In fact, if anything, I would say that "a comparison of A and B" is perhaps more common, even though it may sound slightly less correct. This Ngram would seem to back me up.


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    As a side note, if you were to change "comparison" to "difference" (the difference between A and B, etc), then it would matter, and "of" would be wrong. They are similar phrases, so I thought I should point it out. – Ken Bellows Feb 7 '13 at 16:53
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    +1 You might add that 'with' and 'to' also work. Also, it might be judicious to add a link to the NGram, so users can see just what parameters you employed - and play around with them, as here – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 7 '13 at 17:09
  • Good point. I added links on the image and the "This Ngram" text. – Ken Bellows Feb 7 '13 at 17:12
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    I love the screaming headline. – J.R. Feb 7 '13 at 20:52

If you compare A with B, then the comparison is between A and B. You could also say "comparison of A with B" as in the following sentence.

The immediacy of effect is assessed both with the observed data from phases 1 and 2, and a comparison of the observed data in phase 2 with the projected data from phase 1.

You could also say "comparison of A and B" as in the following sentence.

Counseling smoking parents of young children: comparison of pediatricians and family physidans.

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You use between when you are comparing two things and among when comparing more than two things.


Between my brother and sister, my brother is easily the most spoiled.

Tom is the smartest among my friends.

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    I don't see how your answer addresses the question asked. The poster seems to be interested in the correctness of the expressions indicated, not in the usage of between and among. – Paola Feb 7 '13 at 18:10

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