Similarities, differences and conditions


These are ways of saying that two or more things are similar, or have something the same.
Peter is similar to (= like) his brother in many ways. Peter and his brother are very similar.
Peter and his brother are quite alike.
Maria and Rebecca both passed their exams. (= Maria passed and Rebecca passed)
But neither wants to go to university. (= Maria doesn’t want to go and Rebecca doesn’t want to go either)
The two boys have a lot in common. (= they have many things e.g. hobbies, interests, beliefs, that are the same or very similar)


These are ways of saying that two or more things are different.
His early films are different from his later ones.
Paula is quite unlike (= very different from) her sister.
They have nothing in common. (= they have no interests or beliefs that are the same)

Using ‘compare’

We want to compare the prices of all the televisions before we decide which one to buy.
They made a comparison of average salaries in different parts of the country.
Our new flat is very big compared with/to our old one. (= if you compare it with the other)
If you compare this one with the others, I’m sure you’ll see a difference.


When we make a general statement about things or people and then say that one thing or person is not included or is different from the others, we use these words and phrases:
It snowed everywhere except on the west coast.
The two girls are very similar except that Louise has slightly longer hair.
The museum is open every day except (for) / apart from Sunday(s).
Everyone heard the fire alarm except (for) / apart from the two boys in room 7.
Note: Except can be followed by different words (nouns, prepositions, etc.), but except for and apart from are followed by nouns or noun phrases.


Here are some words/phrases which introduce or connect conditions. Like ‘if’, they are used with certain tenses, and the rules are quite difficult. For the moment, notice the tenses underlined in the examples, and use them in this way until you meet other examples.
We will be late unless we hurry. (= we’ll be late if we don’t hurry)
Unless the weather improves (= if the weather doesn’t improve), we won’t be able to go.
I must go now otherwise (= because if I don’t) FU miss the last bus.
You can borrow it as long as (= on condition that) you bring it back by Thursday.
Note: The meaning is very similar to if here, but the use of as long as shows that the condition is very important to the speaker.
Take your umbrella with you in case it rains. (= because of the possibility it may rain later)
I brought food in case we get hungry. (= because of the possibility we may be hungry later)