Compared to (with)



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

The whole world is nothing to me compared to her.



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.


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:


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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