For example:

The building is accurate to its schematics

Is this invalid use of the word "accurate"?

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    @mplungjan "The building is according to its schematics." seems as clumsy as the original. – Matt E. Эллен Mar 31 '14 at 10:26
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    The building is accurate according to its schematics of course! – mplungjan Mar 31 '14 at 12:00

You can definitely say "accurate to" in some cases: for instance, "The stopwatch is accurate to a thousandth of a second" would be entirely correct, and many dictionaries specifically list this use of the word accurate.

The question, then, is whether something can be accurate not only to an amount or measure (be those seconds, meters, or grams) or to n significant digits or n decimal places, but also to a thing.

Personally, I think your example sentence is correct. Other phrases I've found in the corpus include:

"a painting that seems accurate to life"

"in settings accurate to the period and locale"

"the movie was accurate to the Bible or attempted to be"

Other ways of saying your sentence would include:

"The building was built according to the schematics"

"The building adheres to/conforms to the schematics"

...but in both cases, I'd add "precisely" to make it obvious just how accurate the link between the building and the schematics is.

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  • But in this case, "accurate to" is an unnatural choice. – Larry B Mar 31 '14 at 14:34
  • To use your example would be "... an accurate representation of the buildings schematics" – Larry B Mar 31 '14 at 14:39
  • @RodgersandHammertime I'm sorry, I'm not quite following you in that second comment? – Alicja Z Mar 31 '14 at 14:40
  • Your probably right on my last comment actually – Larry B Mar 31 '14 at 14:42
  • I can see that it's unusual in the example I chose, but that's fine, I just wanted to know if it had currency elsewhere. Thanks, accepted answer :). – Lou Apr 1 '14 at 8:43

In this context, it seems to give the meaning you desire.

The building has been built to adhere to its schematics

So, yes, you can use it.

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    Agree with your general comment, but not sure about the meaning of your paraphrased sentence... Things are always designed to adhere to the schematics, since a schematic is actually a design. The question is whether they're also built according to those same schematics/designs. – Alicja Z Mar 31 '14 at 10:52
  • Good point. Edited example. – Ronan Mar 31 '14 at 11:25

The building is true to its schematics.

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    The best comment here. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 31 '14 at 15:49
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    -1 Not really, it doesn't clarify the use or grammaticality of "accurate" at all, it just rewords my example. I'm not looking for the best way to phrase this particular expression, but whether "accurate to" is acceptable in a general case. – Lou Apr 1 '14 at 8:00
  • @LeoKing Your sentence, "The building is accurate to its schematics", sounds silly. It's awkward and unnatural and wouldn't ever get used so trying to prove its grammatical validity is pointless really, looking for the correct way to phrase it however, might not be. – Larry B Apr 1 '14 at 20:11
  • The example is ungrammatical, that's perfectly fine. But what I would have preferred was either a better example which showed how "accurate to" could be grammatically used, or evidence that the form couldn't be used at all. All you did was rephrase the example, which didn't answer the question. – Lou Apr 1 '14 at 22:13

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