English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm pretty new to English StackExchange, and English is not my first language, so I'm not even sure what tags to look for. So, I apologize if this has been discussed before.

I'm writing up a blog and somehow I got confused with the proper grammar for a sentence that compares one thing to another thing of a different category. For example, I want to compare Dodge Chargers, the car, with Cheetahs, the animal. Which one is the proper sentence:

Dodge Chargers are equivalent to Cheetahs in the animal kingdom.

Dodge Chargers are equivalent to Cheetahs in automobiles.

Do I use the category from the first or second subject?

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

To avoid ambiguity, use

Dodge Chargers in automobiles are equivalent to cheetahs in the animal kingdom.


Dodge Chargers are equivalent to cheetahs in the animal kingdom

in the animal kingdom refers to cheetahs, while in

Dodge Chargers are equivalent to cheetahs in automobiles

in automobiles refers to Dodge Chargers and may be seen as a rewriting of

In automobiles, Dodge Chargers are equivalent to cheetahs.

share|improve this answer
So, what you are saying is that both are applicable? – DumpHole May 22 '12 at 4:13
I am just picturing those cheetahs behind the wheel in their automobiles... – Jim May 22 '12 at 7:11

In the automobile world, Dodge Chargers are the equivalent of cheetahs in the animal kingdom.

share|improve this answer

*Dodge Chargers are equivalent to cheetahs in automobiles.

has a (kind of silly) misplaced modifier, so it might be better to rewrite it with in automobiles in front, as Clark Kent did at the end of his answer.

For what it's worth, I would probably just write:

Dodge Chargers are the cheetahs of the automobile world.

share|improve this answer

Use the category from the second subject. Essentially, you're using an analogy i.e.:

Dodge Charger:cars::cheetah:animals

but omitting the first category.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.