I was wondering whether both the following choices can be used in my made-up examples bellow without any specific change in the sentences' meanings:

Case 1)
Steve) What is your ............. to chose your future spouse?
Sam) To me, honesty is far more important than anything else.
a. criterion
b. benchmark

Case 2)
What ........... do you use to decide whether one book is better than another?
a. criteria
b. benchmarks


A standard that you use to judge something or make a decision about something.
Example - the criteria we use to select candidates.



Something that is used as a standard by which other things can be judged or measured.
Example: - Figures that are a useful benchmark for measuring the company’s performance.


I think they both mean the same in both of the examples above with NO significant change in the meanings. However, I need your approval on my take here.

  • 1
    criterion for choosing a spouse. If you are not married, spouse doe not require the word future.
    – Lambie
    Nov 3, 2021 at 14:12

1 Answer 1


They don't mean the same.

If you use criteria, you say "The chosen person must have these qualities".

If you use something as a benchmark, you say "The chosen one must be as good, or nearly as good as this one".

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