Situation and Comparison

What are Prepositions of Comparison?

Prepositions of comparison allow us to compare, separate, or differentiate between two people, things, ideas, and so on. The most common prepositions used for this function are between, like, than, and unlike.

Let’s look at some examples of prepositions of comparison in sentences:

  • This design is unlike the one that was presented during the meeting.
  • You’re definitely taller than him.
  • It’s quite hard for me to distinguish between these shades of blue.
  • I’m amazed at how you look just like your father when he was your age.
  • The crowd was about 100 more people than yesterday’s group.

Prepositions of Comparison Rules

Prepositions require objectsPrepositional phrases are made up of prepositions and their objects. There are several sentence structures that break prepositional phrases, but their objects are always clearly recognizable. Let’s look at some examples:

– I’m at least a foot taller than my brother.
– Gillian couldn’t decide between two things on the menu.
– You look like a Sicilian with your new tan.
PlacementWith the exception of some sentence structures, prepositions are almost always found before their objects. For example:

– Nikki sounds unlike herself these past few days
– It seems like people now get offended so easily.
– What’s the difference between these two options?

Note: objects of prepositions function differently from objects of verbs. Objects of verbs are “receivers” of actions. Meanwhile, objects of prepositions are nouns or pronouns either referred to or affected by the prepositions, which don’t essentially receive an action.
Pronouns as Objects of PrepositionsWhen the objects of the preposition are pronouns, they are always in the objective case: me, us, you, him, her, it, them. When using possessive, both possessive pronouns and possessive determiners may apply. For example:

– You sing just like her.
– This house is huge; but put against yours, it’s tiny.
– Miss Stoger is unlike his old boss.
Table of Rules for Prepositions of Comparison

Examples of Prepositions of Comparison

1. Between

  • If it’s between those two venues, the one closer to work is better.
  • They were only allowed to choose between two options.
  • The price isn’t so different between the tiers.
  • Pick between these seats.
  • As for the party, Hernan couldn’t decide between these themes.

2. Like

  • How did Mi Ran learn to speak like a native speaker?
  • Lia has always sounded like a Disney princess when she sings.
  • Stop acting like a disgruntled pelican.
  • It’s like stepping into a fairy tale!
  • I stopped hanging out with them because they behave like fools.

3. Unlike

  • This city is so unlike the one I was used to.
  • Unlike Rianne, Jules actually delivers on her promises.
  • Jimmy is so unlike his mother in every way besides his eyes.
  • Unlike yesterday’s trail, this one isn’t so steep.
  • It’s so unlike Orly to behave that way, I’m sorry.

4. Than

  • A group of more than thirty players registered for the E-game event.
  • This courier service is a lot more reliable than the last one.
  • Aren’t you older than Timothy?
  • Quoc Anh thought he was faster than Lorry.
  • I like this cake because it’s less sweet than that one.
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Prepositions of Comparison Exercises with Answers

Exercise on Prepositions of Comparison

Choose the proper preposition of comparison from the options given.

1. If we carpooled, we’ll get there earlier _______ if we don’t.

a. than

b. unlike

2. There’s a gradient disparity _______ the logos.

a. between

b. than

3. It’s so _______ Carla to get angry so easily.

a. between

b. unlike

4. Just _______ the year before, they used the same dance routine.

a. like

b. than

5. Is there a huge difference _______ the tour packages?

a. unlike

b. between


1. a: If we carpooled, we’ll get there earlier than if we don’t.

2. a: There’s a gradient disparity between the logos.

3. It’s so unlike Carla to get angry so easily.

4. a: Just like the year before, they used the same dance routine.

5. b: Is there a huge difference between the tour packages?

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Prepositions of Comparison List

Below is a list of prepositions used for comparisons with definitions and examples:

Aftersimilar toI drew after the style of a pointillism piece I saw.
Belowfewer or less thanDon’t sell your goods below the market price.
Besidecompared withBeside her dish, yours is excellent.
Betweento differentiateCan you tell the difference between these labels?
Likesimilar toThese look just like the earrings you got in India.
Nearabout the same or similar toNobody’s sense of color can come near hers.
Overmore thanWe spent over the budget.
Thanthe other part of a comparisonIt’s easier said than done.
Underfewer or less thanIt’s under its usual price.
Unlikenot similar toTheir guacamole is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.
Prepositions of Comparison Table

Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

Use Grammar ListsLists and tables made for English grammar won’t be able to replace books, but they can act as valuable tools to complement learning. They break down complicated grammar subjects into simplified versions, which is helpful when you need quick references or comparisons. An excellent way to benefit from this learning method is to make your own lists. This will customize your material naturally and personalize content to suit your learning preferences and language requirements.
Use Audio-Visual ResourcesAll language learners must self-study. Classroom instruction isn’t enough. But to get the full advantage of learning independently, you should have the proper tools. English media is one of them. By adding your favorite English language films, TV shows, social media channels, music, and podcasts to your learning routine, you’ll gain a larger insight into how native and non-native English speakers use the language in different social, academic, and professional contexts. This will ultimately improve your understanding of language elements and enhance your vocabulary and sentence construction skills.
Practical UseA lot of English language learners struggle because they live or study in places where English isn’t widely spoken or used. This puts them at a great disadvantage because the only real way to improve their language skills is to use the language regularly. If you are in the same situation, it’s important to remember that there are ways to make an “English environment” for yourself. Establishing a study group with classmates and friends is a good starting point. This will provide a platform to explore language with others and you can help each other accomplish your goals. Furthermore, you can maintain personal relationships with English speakers, native and non-native alike, which will enhance your communication skills.
Table of Advice for English Learners
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Common Errors Made by English Learners

Common ErrorsExplanation/Example
Wrong Preposition  Mastering prepositions is challenging because each one can have multiple meanings and distinctive functions. It’s important to study the definitions of each preposition and be mindful of how they’re used in sentences. For example, after Jolly’s technique doesn’t mean the same thing as near Jolly’s technique. The first one means to follow Jolly’s technique, while the second one means close to it. Learn these differences and exercise them in writing and speaking. Eventually, you’ll be able to choose the right preposition for your own sentences.
Like vs As  The preposition “like” means the same as something or similar to something. For example:

– Marie looks like an actress.
– He is acting like a child.
– You sound just like your mom.

Like is mainly used when comparing people or things.

On the other hand, “as” means in the same manner or condition.

– They went to the Halloween party as characters from The Conjuring.
– No one can cook pasta as your mom can.
– Teach as you do when I’m not around.
Than as a Preposition vs Than as a Conjunction  The difference between “than” functioning as a preposition and a conjunction is quite technical but not at all that difficult.

When the word “than” is followed by a noun or pronoun, it is considered a preposition. When it’s followed by a clause (a group of words with a subject and a verb), however, it’s considered a conjunction. For example:

As a preposition:

– She sings better than me.
– You’re much smaller than Chandra.
– This house is a lot bigger than that.

As a conjunction:

– It’s about 100 dollars more than we had anticipated.
– The project was a lot more work than Devon thought it would.
– I thought I could finish it faster than she did.
Preposition of Comparison Common Errors Table

Learning Strategies and Best Practices with Prepositions of Comparison

Prepositions are some of the most widely used words in English. However, they are rarely studied individually in regular English classes. In many instances, English students learn prepositions through experience. They hear phrases spoken a specific way and add them naturally to their own vocabulary without really thinking about them. Here are some best practices to observe when studying and using prepositions of comparison:

  1. It’s probably not necessary to know the intricate technicalities of English grammar in whatever way you need English. Unless of course, you want to get into a career in linguistics. Prepositions are one of the most perplexing topics you can ever come across. But instead of putting an emphasis on their individual meanings, study them as phrases. Listen to and take note of how English speakers use them and follow suit. You may already be aware that there are standard expressions in English that are often unaffected by rules or logic. It’s just the way they’re spoken. When you are talking to a group of native speakers, avoid asking “Why do you use this and not that?” Instead, ask “How do you say this?”
  2. When in doubt, refer to a grammar list, chart, or dictionary. Also, you don’t need to use prepositions all the time. If you’re having a difficult time wondering what the right preposition to use is, why don’t you practice your paraphrasing skills and reconstruct your sentence in a way that doesn’t need prepositions.
  3. Read, practice, talk. The more prepositional phrases you have acquired, the more accurate you’ll get in choosing not only the proper words but also the correct ways of using them. In time, you’ll be able to do it instinctively.

Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand preposition form of degree and preposition form of direction.

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Prepositions of Comparison Frequently Asked Questions

Prepositions of comparisons show the similarities or differences between two things, people, or ideas.

Here are some examples:

– Hilda is stricter than Lynn.
– Marco is unlike his friends in that regard.
– The Silay factory could produce more sugar than ours.
– The air smells like freshly mown grass.
– What difference do you notice between the two samples?

There is no grammar rule that prohibits ending sentences with prepositions. There has been a lot of buzz around this with many people claiming it’s grammatically wrong.

However, “What are you looking at?” is used by many and sounds a lot less awkward or pretentious than “At what are you looking?” You will find many sentences ending in prepositions in this article and countless others in various literary works and publications. This is like the argument that you can’t use “that” to refer to people, which is preposterous because English language specialists and books have repeatedly detailed that you can do so.

Because there are many types of prepositions, there’s no singular way to use them. You can think of them as bridges or links that reference the relationships between words in a sentence.

Explain the difference between like and as with examples.

Let’s try to simplify their unique functions by looking at the following sentences:

– Jonathan works like a teacher.
– Jonathan works as a teacher.

In the first sentence, Jonathan’s manner of working is similar to that of a teacher but doesn’t necessarily mean that he is a teacher. He may have certain qualities that are similar to the qualities a teacher has. On the other hand, the second sentence means that Jonathan’s profession is teaching. He is a teacher, quite literally.

These are the prepositions of time, place, movement or direction, measure, manner or method, comparison, possession, and agency. Some English books may have more or fewer types, or use different words to classify prepositions.

Prepositions of place (or “location”), for example, are sometimes called prepositions of direction, movement, situation, or source. Or they may be clumped together under one group. If you’d like to see more detailed content for each preposition type, feel free to look through our blog. is written and maintained by language experts who have years of experience teaching English in different countries. Here at, we aim to present the essentials of the English language with independent learning in mind.

Don’t forget to explore our grammar page as we have a comprehensive list of articles dedicated not only to each type of preposition but also to other grammatical concepts as well.

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