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April 04, 2008


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Maybe the point is that they're similar enough for people to make the comparison, but different enough to not make the comparison a valid one in some cases?


My anonymous friend does make a valid point -- if the apples to oranges statement was used in making comparisons that are on the face somewhat reasonable, then I agree it would be an apt metaphor. My point, at least as I was intending to make it, is that people say "It's like comparing apples to oranges" when they are comparing two things that are so disparate so as to make the act of comparison ridiculous. I don't think that people use this metaphor when they are pursuing nuance -- that's certainly not the case with the Lederer example I cite above, wherein it is posited as ridiculous to compare one players pitching statistics to another player's hitting statistics.


I couldn't agree with you more!! What a TIRED cliche!!!!!!


I think this is just one of those old sayings that people use without actually /thinking/ about it. Something that drives me completely stark raving, as well.

COuld we maybe compare apples to waffles? mmm waffles...

Russell Miller

I think anyone who uses the phrase "apples to oranges" is using it rhetorically - and thus probably is responding to a comparison that someone has put forth as reasonable. This is always a response, never original.

"I think this is like something else..."

"Are you kidding? That's like comparing apples to oranges!"

I dunno. I don't see a problem with it. Seems like splitting hairs to me. Oops. No one actually splits a hair, so we need to find another metaphor. See my point? :)


An alternate version I liked was "That's like comparing apples to orange kittens."

(the original) Mel

I like your blog. Read Douglas Adams? Your writing style reminds me of him. Good and fun and smart.

(the original) Mel

I like your blog. Read Douglas Adams? Your writing style reminds me of him. Good and fun and smart.


so happy to see you have a blog, berthaservant! reading your comments on CO for the last year+ has made me eager to hear more of what you have to say. so here i am commenting on a post you made back in april.

i think the implication, when someone uses this simile (because it's a simile! not a metaphor!) is that the person they are addressing THOUGHT they were comparing apples to apples. but the two things they were comparing, while both the same category of thing (fruit) were not the same type of think in that category. but never mind my hair-splitting...it's still an overused and trite phrase!

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