Usage Note: A common rule of usage holds that compare to and compare with are not interchangeable. To implies “in the direction of” or “toward a target,” and so comparing Miriam to a summer's day means treating the summer's day as a standard or paragon and noting that Miriam, though a different kind of entity, is similar in some ways to it. With implies “together” or “side by side,” and so comparing the Senate version of the bill with the House version means treating them symmetrically, as two examples of the same kind of entity, and noting both the similarities and the differences. It's a subtle distinction, and most writers accept both prepositions for both kinds of comparison, though with a preference that aligns with the traditional rule. The 2014 Usage Survey presented He compared the runner to a gazelle, where the items are in different categories and the first is likened to the second; the Panelists found to more acceptable than with by a large margin (95 percent to 55 percent). The margin of acceptability was slimmer for a sentence about assessing the similarities and differences between two comparable items: The police compared the forged signature with the original. The acceptability of with was only slightly greater than that of to (84 percent to 76 percent), and with might have been even more acceptable had the sentence been about two forged signatures.