Discussion in 'English Only' started by Akasaka, Jun 5, 2007.
This is new to me. Could anyone please explain what an apples-to-apples comparison is?
Apples-to=apples comparison compares the same or very similar items. This is contrasted with an apples-to-oranges comparison where dissimilar things, that should not be compared, are compared.
This apple is bigger than that apple.
Is this an apples-to-apples comparison?
It's not quite as literal as that. Apples-to-apples comparison would be used to describe a comparison between two things that are similar in nature, for example: comparing the acceleration of one mid-sized car to that of another mid-sized car. An apples-to-oranges comparison would be a comparison between two things that are not similar: comparing the acceleration of a mid-sized car to that of a bus.
Somehow I think that "apples-to-apples" doesn't only apply to... apples
By the way, check out this Wikipedia entry on a game called Apples to Apples.
"You've got to make an apples-to-apples comparison" is a widely used, if not overused, phrase in business. Tomandjerryfan gave an excellent example. Here's another one.
For example, let's say you are looking at a piece of equipment that cost only $10,000 to purchase but over its lifetime it would cost you $90,000 to maintain. You are also looking at another similar piece of equipment from another manufacturer that will cost you $20,000 to purchase but will cost only $60,000 to maintain over its lifetime.
You say: "I don't know - $10,000 vs. $20.000. It's difficult to justify twice the price for a piece of equipment that does the same job."
The salesman might say: "You have to make an apples-to-apples comparison, though. Sure, the other piece of equipment is cheaper to purchase, but you have to consider the cost to maintain it as well. Consider the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) as a valid apples-to-apples comparison; our equipment will cost you $80,000 over its lifetime, while the other manufacturer's equipment will cost you $100,000 over its lifetime. You'll be saving $20,000, not spending an extra $10,000, when all is said and done."
"This apple tastes better than that apple." (apples to apples)
"This apple tastes better than that orange." (apples to oranges).
The first sentence is sensible. The second is not.
It is reasonable to compare the taste of two apples as per the sample above, but not the second.
You could say, "I like apples better than oranges." (this is an "apples to apples" comparison--you are comparing two fruits and stating that one fruit is better tasting to you than the other fruit.)
But if you say, "This apple tastes better than that orange," there is no commonality and the comparison is not valid.
Thanks for your reply. Well, I've never thought it like you explained. As a matter of fact, "This apple tastes better than that orange." does not bother me. Comparison is difficult, isn't it?
Apples vs. Oranges:
Mary is taller than Joan is smart.
This clearly makes no sense.
Apples vs. Oranges is all about comparing things that lack commonality.
Separate names with a comma.