Compared to (with)

 

Q:

In this sentence, why is the word compared used, and not compare?

The whole world is nothing to me compared to her.

Kenneth
[email protected]

A:

Compared to (or compared with) is a set phrase meaning "in comparison to." Like other modifying participial phrases, it modifies the subject of the sentence. We use -ed on "compared" because the phrase is derived from a passive structure and gives a passive meaning.

Because it is a participial phrase that modifies the subject of a sentence, it can come at the beginning or end of the sentence:

(a) Dallas is a small city compared to New York.

(b)

Compared to New York, Dallas is a small city.

In both cases above, the participial phrase modifies the subject ("Dallas") and gives a passive meaning: "[When (or if) Dallas is] compared to New York, Dallas is a small city."

Here's another example:

(c)

Anna is 50 years old, but she is young [when/if she is] compared to her 99-year-old grandmother.

In your example, "The whole world is nothing to me compared to her," compared modifies "the whole world" (the subject of the sentence) and carries a passive meaning: "When/If the whole world is compared to her, the whole world means nothing to me."

As a set phrase, compared to is also interchangeable with in comparison to in the introduction of statistical facts: "Five percent of the girls voted yes, compared to (in comparison to) 50 percent of the boys."

Betty Azar

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