English is not just about learning new words, increasing your vocabulary and understanding grammar rules. Learning English is about learning the different nuances of the language. English is a very diverse language with a number of aspects, expressions and concepts. When you are enhancing your spoken English, you also need to learn about the various concepts like passive and active voice, tenses, idioms, expressions used for praise, criticism, description of things or comparison. When you gain a mastery over all this, only then can you be confident about your English speaking and English fluency.
As always, we bring to you a blog with a new topic in English learning. Today, we will learn about a few expressions that are used when comparing two or more variables. Without much ado, let’s dig in.
Understanding the need to compare
What’s the need of expressions that can be used to compare things? Often, we need to put forth our views regarding making a choice. For example, you and your friends are going out for a movie. There are three movies playing at the multiplex and you all cannot make a unified decision on which one to watch. This is a perfect situation where you would need to compare the three variables – the movies. Simply saying that, “Let’s watch movie B” will not convince your friends, you need to give reasons and establish your argument to convince your friends that movie B, indeed, is better than the other two movies. Saw what I did there? I compared the three movies by using the word ‘than’. When I say something is better than the other option, I am comparing the two and establishing the fact that one is superior.
Expressions for comparing things
Rather/ than/ in contrast
When trying to put forth an idea, out of the available options, when one is way too different from the other, we use expressions like ‘rather’, ‘than’ and ‘in contrast’.
Eg. Rather than going all the way to Chillies, why can’t we eat at Blue? The food at Blue is way better, anyway.
In this above example, by using the word ‘rather’, we are conveying that eating at Blue is better because the food is good and it is easily accessible.
Let’s see an example of using the word ‘than’. ‘Chili's is much more expensive than Blue, and even the food isn’t up to the mark’. Clearly, by using the word ‘than’ we have pointed out that Blue is a better choice when compared to Chilli’s.
How do we use ‘in contrast’? Let’s learn with the help of an example. ‘In contrast to Chillies, the ambience and food at Blue is truly continental.’ The expression ‘in contrast’ implies that one of the two variables is a lot different from the other. In the above example, by using ‘in contrast’ we hint at the fact that the food and ambience at Chilli’s is secondary to Blue’s.
What is the best way to learn English? Practice! Therefore, here is an exercise for you. Write down ten sentences using expressions for comparison.
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- By Shailja Varma
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