In a previous post, I have written about how to describe similarities when you are asked to compare two periods/authors/novels/situations/… to one another. Of course, this raises the question of how to describe differences between any two or more things and how to contrast them with one another. Here is a list of numerous expressions and phrases you might want to consider employing in your next term paper or essay.
|contrast||a direct, marked, sharp, stark, striking, great contrast|
to provide a (adjective) contrast
|There is still a sharp contrast between East and West Germany.
Hamburg provides a great contrast to its rather rural surrounding areas.
|difference||a considerable, crucial, essential, fundamental, major, marked, significant, striking, substantial difference|
the main difference
to find, notice, observe, show a (adjective) difference
|There are substantial differences in employment rates in different parts of the United Kingdom.
Sociologists have long observed a significant difference in the living conditions of whites and Blacks in the US.
|distinction||a clear, crucial, fundamental, sharp distinction|
to draw, make a distinction
|It is reasonable to draw a distinction between biological sex and social gender identities.
There appears to be a clear distinction between oral and written literature.
|the contrary||to prove the contrary||Scientists have proven the contrary to be true.|
|the opposite||to affirm, suggest the opposite||The present research results suggest the opposite of what scholars have maintained for more than a century.|
|the reverse||the reverse is true, valid||While French is considered to be a prestigious language by the majority of the European population, the reverse is true for Arabic.|
|contrasting||contrasting views, opinions||I will begin this essay by examining two contrasting views on the Vietnam War.|
|different||appear, seem different|
distinctly, markedly, radically, rather, significantly, strikingly, entirely, quite, slightly, subtly different
a different approach, view, opinion
from a different angle
to different degrees
|A rather different approach was taken by Angela Davis, a counterculture activist who is a professor at the USCS in its History of Consciousness Department.
Lakoff’s approach to similarities among languages is distinctly different from that of Chomsky.
|differing||differing needs, effects, approaches, results, interests, opinions, views, conditions||The two examples reflect widely differing perspectives.|
|unlike||entirely, very much unlike||The current situation at the Mexico-United States border is very much unlike that of the borders within the European Union.|
|contrary||to run, seem contrary to|
completely, entirely, quite, directly contrary
contrary to expectations, popular belief
|The results run entirely contrary to our expectations.|
|opposite||opposite effect, view, tendency||State interventions might help the job market to recover, however, they might also have the opposite effect.|
|reverse||reverse direction||The trend appears to be going in the reverse direction.|
contrast sharply, strongly, markedly, starkly
|His analysis contrasts sharply with how most other scholars view this.|
differ considerably, greatly, markedly, significantly, slightly, widely
|While the two claimed to have incompatible views, in fact, their opinions only differed slightly.|
|compare||(as) compared with|
(as) compared to
when compared to
|Her opinion becomes more comprehensible when compared to Miller’s.|
distinguish sth./sb. from
clearly, sharply, carefully, easily, readily distinguish
difficult, hard, impossible, possible, important to distinguish
|It is important to distinguish between nationalism and patriotism.
In this paper, I will distinguish between three analytical categories.
Her analytical precision distinguishes her from other scholars.
important, easy, possible, difficult to differentiate
|In the first chapter, I will differentiate between social and economic factors.
It is difficult to differentiate this product from its predecessor.
|by/in contrast||An estimated 31 to 42% of the Indian population eat a vegetarian diet. In contrast, only approximately 5% of US Americans prefer not to eat meat.|
|by/in comparison||75 % of the working population in Germany are employed in tertiary sector. By comparison, only 33% of the working population in Vietnam is active in the services sector.|
|on the other hand||One of the main focuses of Adeyemi is the social implications of genetic testing. Nguyen, on the other hand, concentrates on the ethical implications.|
|unlike||Unlike public sector agencies, NGOs have a tradition of setting up cooperation networks.|
|as opposed to||Socialists view freedom as a concrete situation as opposed to a purely abstract ideal.|
|as against||1041 petitions are still under consideration as against 689 the previous year.|
|in contrast to||In contrast to various other experts on the subject, Bleyhl maintains that French teachers should not focus on grammar.|
|in comparison with||Small and mid-sized enterprises bear an administrative burden that is disproportionate in comparison with big enterprises.|
|contrary to||Contrary to popular opinion, immigrants are not driving down wages across the board.|
|versus/vs.||Regarding the issue of Christianity versus Islam there is a major problem.|
|while||While some mothers might prefer to stay at home, many of them do not get the chance to decide otherwise due to the non-availability of affordable child-care.|
|whereas||The majority of students of French are women, whereas the majority of academics teaching it are men.|
|but||One could argue that this assumption is true, but this would certainly be simplistic.|
Source: Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners (2007): “B. Comparing and Contrasting: Describing Similarities and Differences.” London: Macmillan, IW 7-9.