conform to or conform with?

  • panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Hello Huda - welcome to WordReference :)

    You should be able to find information about this topic in any good dictionary - and it would help us to help you if you posted a specific example sentence.

    But when I looked, there is very little useful information on this point. Many sources suggest that there really is no difference and you should use whichever sounds best.

    Then I found this previous thread:
    adjustable beds conform to/with your body curves
    ... where you will see a view that only "conform to" is acceptable in that context.

    Using the forum's dictionary and thread title search you can find links to phrases used in current media.
    conform to in context
    conform with in context
    These examples should help you understand how and when each is used.
     

    Huda

    Senior Member
    arabic-Egypt
    Dear Sir or Madam:

    Please advise if "conform with" is right in this context:
    Islam made the provisions and principles of treaties. These provisions guarantee that treaties conform with the Islamic Sharia’ and the aims for which making treaties has been sanctioned.

    thanks a million
    huda
     

    Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I would say conform to in this situation. I would rephrase the sentence slightly: These provisions ensure that treaties conform to the principles of the Islamic Sharia and the aims for which treaties have been sanctioned.

    On a side note, in English the word is simply Sharia (no italics required), and the commonly used Anglicization is Shari'a.
     

    MarCn

    New Member
    English
    Dear Sir or Madam:

    Please advise if "conform with" is right in this context:
    Islam made the provisions and principles of treaties. These provisions guarantee that treaties conform with the Islamic Sharia’ and the aims for which making treaties has been sanctioned.

    thanks a million
    huda
    There is no difference between them. You can use either one of those prepositions. There's no meaning difference, and there doesn't seem to be a rule as to when to use one of them or the other.
     

    Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I'm not aware of any rule, but I do use these phrases often, and they are used in specific situations. They appear often in legal and technical writing. They are used to describe how one set of rules, regulations, or laws are brought into conformity with another set of rules, regulations, or laws, much as Huda used the phrase in his (or her) sentence. In engineering and technical writing, parts, designs, etc. conform to certain specifications.
    I would say that other than one set phrase (mentioned below) most English speakers do not see this verb often, used as either conform to or conform with. Again, although there is no formal rule, I always see and use conform to when I read about or discuss objects or concepts conforming to another set of rules or concepts (when there is an inanimate object or idea involved). I usually see and use conform with when we talk about a situation where a person is conforming with other people (although we often say 'a person conforms to society's norms'--but again, we have conform to used with a concept).
     

    AlanN

    New Member
    UK
    English
    I agree with Cypherpunk on this subject. It is better to use 'conform to' than 'conform with' in this context. The very reason I visited this thread is because I read 'conform with' written in a document and didn't like it.
     

    TommyGun

    Senior Member
    Hi,

    Interesting, that we say conform to the rules, but comply with the rules. Why?
    It seems even strange, because to implies the idea of going towards and sounds stronger than with, but comply with is actually stronger than conform to.
     

    Huda

    Senior Member
    arabic-Egypt
    Hi,

    Interesting, that we say conform to the rules, but comply with the rules. Why?
    It seems even strange, because to implies the idea of going towards and sounds stronger than with, but comply with is actually stronger than conform to.
    Thanks a lot.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Not at all, Huda.
    It is a question, really. Why do the things go that way? What does a native speaker feel when he make a choice between the to and the with?
    Well, here's what this native speaker feels...

    "Conform to" = "be/act in accordance with". A follows the rules of B.

    "Conform with" = "has the shape that is required by". A has the shape required by B.

    EDIT: I often use "conform to", but I think I hardly ever use "conform with".
     
    Last edited:

    King Crimson

    Modus in fabula
    Italiano
    Here's a case (from a NASA Project Manager's Handbook) of "conform with" that seems to support Loob's explanation in #13 --assuming the "format" as as shape to be followed:

    A project plan is required for each Research Flight Project managed by Code P. The plan should
    normally conform with the NPG 7120.5A format.
     
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