correlate <to /with>

Discussion in 'English Only' started by highcs, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. highcs

    highcs Senior Member

    Germany
    English - U.S.
    Does something correlate to something else
    or with it?

    Or does it depend on what is being correlated?
     
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It may depend.
    OED says "correlate (with or to another)."

    It would help if you could post a specific example.
     
  3. highcs

    highcs Senior Member

    Germany
    English - U.S.
    I don't have a specific example, actually....
    I was just wondering since they both sounded kind of ok to my native English ear. And that's because they are!

    Thank you!
     
  4. Deep Bayou New Member

    English-US
    I have a specific example that I would like feedback on regarding the use of correlate "to" or "with". 'Even narrowing the type of plant to a specific species does not necessarily correlate to (with) a satisfactory contraction in the range of values obtained.'

    Somehow I tend to gravitate to the use of "to" because it is in keeping with the use of "narrowing ..... to a specific species". Then again correlate with begins to appear permissible after I read it several times.

    Thank you for your candid advice.
     
  5. highcs

    highcs Senior Member

    Germany
    English - U.S.
    I also like 'to' in this case as well... although I'm not really quite sure why. Sorry it took me so long to see your post!!!
     
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The corpora show that "correlate with" is a great deal more common than "correlate to".
    I can't identify any difference in usage, so unless someone can point out that there is a difference and explain it, I suggest it would be best to stick with "correlate with".
    BNC
    ... with - 87
    ... to - 4
    COCA
    ... with - 472
    ... to - 48

    BNC - British National Corpus
    COCA - Corpus of Contemporary American English
    COHA - Corpus of Historical American English
     
  7. Fabulist Senior Member

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    In its statistical sense—there is a formula for calculating a "correlation coefficient" measuring mathematically the relationship between two sets of quantitative measures—I believe that I have always seen it as "correlate with." There, it's usually in the passive: "Annual plant growth in tons per acre is highly [or strongly] correlated with annual rainfall (r = .85) but only weakly with mean annual temperature (r = .23)."*

    The example in post #4 seems to be a less mathematical use of the verb "to correlate."

    *Hypothetical statement only; I'm not a botonist and have no idea what the statistical relationship is between plant growth and either rainfall or mean annual temperature.
     
  8. Hung New Member

    English
    IMO it should be to.

    'Correlate' appears in many contexts.

    1. In this case, a subject correlates two or more objects.

    2. Unlike the previous case, the subjects correlate but no object exists.

    3. In this case, the subject appears related to the subject, so they correlate to each other.

    4. This last case exhibits the use of correlate in a phrase within the sentence, wherein subject does something with objects that correlate with each other.

    I have no proof and give no guarantee that anything above is accurate. It's probably not a rule, but it seems logical that to is used to connect the subject to the object and with is used to connect the objects with each other.
     
  9. MilkyBarKid Senior Member

    British English
    Two measures correlate to a high/low degree

    Weight is correlated with height.
    (That is, one measure correlates with a second measure.)
     
  10. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I wonder what the sentence means?

    At first I thought it meant that narrowing the analysis to a specific species does not necessarily mean that there is a reduction in the range of values. I suppose I had in mind the sense that there is no correlation between the number of species in the analysis and the range of values.

    Now that I look again at the sentence, I really have no idea what it means.
     
  11. MilkyBarKid Senior Member

    British English
    Perhaps because the poster has the mistaken idea that 'correlate' has the meaning 'correspond to'.
     
  12. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I suspect that I have found the original original.
    Biomass Pyrolysis Kinetics: A Comparative Critical Review with ...
    - 07:14by JE White - 2011
    Even narrowing the type of biomass to a specific species does not necessarily correlate to a satisfactory contraction in the range of Ea values, ...
    linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0165237011000088

    That's as far as I can get, free.
     

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