Since the meaning of “pit sb/sth against sb/sth” is “to cause one person, group, or thing to fight against or be in competition with another” I wanted to see that does this statement make sense?

This dog-eat-dog world has pitted many juveniles against geriatrics in their workplaces.

  • "Geriatrics" tend to not be working, so how would they be in a workplace? Apr 24, 2022 at 11:27

1 Answer 1


Pitting one item against another only makes sense when the two mentioned items are different.

In this description "sb" is short for somebody, and "sth" is short for something. These abbreviations are not widely used, so this will confuse your audience. It would be better to describe a concrete example.

I could pit salads against steak, such that salads are healthier and steaks are tastier. Pitting one item against another doesn't mean that one item will win. It means that we are comparing and contrasting two options against each other.

To pit salads against salads makes no sense, because both the "first" salads and the "second" salads have the same description (and therefore the same attributes) so any kind of contrast becomes impossible.

The phrase "pit X against Y" is used to highlight the contrast between two people or two items in a ways that represents struggle. It forms the idea of a fight between two people or items, but it does not indicate who might have the advantage. Nor does it indicate who will win, it only indicates that the speaker is asking you to consider the two groups in a struggle against each other.

  • Thank you for your explanation, but juveniles and geriatrics are different in the age field, so in that situation, does it make sense? Apr 24, 2022 at 11:12
  • No, it would only make sense if you pitted juveniles against geriatrics, or red against blue. It is not generally possible to pit one thing against itself in a meaningful way (although it can describe a person's struggle with themselves if used with a bit of poetic license).
    – Edwin Buck
    Apr 24, 2022 at 11:18
  • I got you, but what I meant was different, I meant “in their workplace(business)” as a competition to climb the corporate ladder, and Juveniles are not the same as elderly in general. Different types of humans Apr 24, 2022 at 11:22
  • 1
    @sourenasaeedzadeh So in a workplace, you could say "The new vacation policy pits the new employees against the old employees ." This would clarify that the new policy is creating the struggle. Maybe the new policy changes the rate of the acquired vacation days such that new employees could never catch up to the old employee's vacation days, maybe it changes it such that the new employees get more vacation faster than the old employees, without more details the "pits X against Y" relationship is not known.
    – Edwin Buck
    Apr 24, 2022 at 11:28
  • Thank you so much for your explanation Apr 24, 2022 at 11:30

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