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I think with/to can be used interchangeably in the following sentences. Am I right?

I will stick with daily English practice. (I will not give up.)

I'm sticking with swimming. (I'm continuing to swim.)

I'm sticking to the plan. (I'm following the plan.)

I'm sticking to my husband. (I'm remaining close to my husband.)

If you want to succeed, you've got to stick to it! [=keep trying, working, etc.]

I checked four dictionaries, but they failed to teach me. For example, one dictionary does not include "stick to" meaning "stay physically close to", but another one does.

I guess one difference may be that "stick to" implies more of a rule, obligation, promise, agreement, or principle. For example, stick to my word, not stick with my word. But this meaning is not used in my 5 examples above.

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    I can't say why exactly, but no, "stick with" and "stick to" are not interchangeable. Sometimes the meanings are very similar ("I'm sticking to/with the plan"), but sometimes one sounds fine while the other is nonsense, like "I'm sticking with my husband" is natural, but "I'm sticking to my husband" is nonsense, and sounds like you're physically getting stuck to him.
    – gotube
    May 7, 2023 at 4:52
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    collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/stick-to the first definition: If you stick to something or someone when you are travelling, you stay close to them. -- I'm told that sometimes dictionaries are not reliable, but I'm not told when.
    – joy2020
    May 7, 2023 at 12:56
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    @gotube Yes, "I'm sticking to my husband" sounds like I'm glued to my husband, so "I'm sticking with my husband" is definitely right. But this reminds me of an old song by Lionel Richie: Stuck on you 😀, which sounds like a voluntary & happy version of "I'm stuck with you" (no choice but to). It's interesting how the active form "sticking with you" means so different than the passive form ("stuck with you"). Jun 23, 2023 at 19:55
  • I think you're right that "stick to" implies a more formal relation or structure: stick to a schedule, plan, diet, etc; while "stick with" doesn't imply strict rules.
    – Stuart F
    Jun 27, 2023 at 11:05
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    Pronouns are often terribly difficult in English. "Sticking with" and "Sticking to" are sometimes interchangeable but sometimes not at all. For example, you could stick with, or to, "the plan". Either is fine. But, you could only "stick with" your love interest, never "stick to" (unless you are literally physically stuck to them, as with an adhesive!). Just repeat the one that you've heard a fluent speaker using in your dialect in a similar context - that's the best advice that can be given here.
    – BadZen
    Jul 25, 2023 at 2:22

1 Answer 1

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(Context- I am a native English Speaker from the US)

I think that in 90% of situations, you are correct and, the prepositions with and to are interchangeable in this context.

Most of your examples, you can swap one for the other with no change in meaning. For example:

I'm sticking to the plan.

I'm sticking with the plan.

If you want to succeed, you've got to stick to it!

If you want to succeed, you've got to stick with it!

These sentences have the same meaning.

One Exception

I'm sticking to my husband. (I'm remaining physically close to my husband.)

I'm sticking with my husband. (I'm remaining emotionally or symbolically close to my husband.)

These do not have the same meaning. When it is possible to physically attach to something, then "stick to" means to attach physically or stay physically in close proximity, and stick with means to symbolically continue or commit.

Another example of this case:

The floor is very dirty, I'm sticking to it! (My feet are getting physically stuck to the floor)

The floor is very dirty, I'm sticking with it! (Somewhat implied that I am continuing to clean the floor even though it will be hard)

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