Consider this sentence:

X is more similar to Y compared to Z

Which of these does this sentence mean?

  1. X is more similar to Y and less similar to Z
  2. The similarity of X to Y is more than the similarity of Z to Y

If it means the first interpretation, how can I say the sentence to mean the second interpretation?


The sentence is badly constructed and likely to cause confusion.

To be clear, it needs to read either:

X is more similar to Y than (X is) to Z


X is more similar to Y than Y is to Z

  • Indeed, what I need is something like "X is more similar to Y than Z is to Y". But doesn't any way of expressing it without repeating Y exist? – Shayan May 15 '18 at 10:26
  • @Shayan The formula Y is more similar to X than to Z expresses a closer relation between X and Y than betwen Y and Z – Ronald Sole May 15 '18 at 13:55
  • Thank you, but I want the opposite. Isn't a way? Assume that being similar in my context is not bidirectional and is unidirectional. – Shayan May 15 '18 at 14:10
  • @Shayan I suspect that you want someone with greater mathematical or computational skills than I have. – Ronald Sole May 15 '18 at 14:23
  • Can I use "X is, compared to Z, more similar to Y" to convey what I mean? Doesn't it have the ambiguity? – Shayan Jun 15 '18 at 11:32

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