The meaning of cf. has already been addressed in this question, but not the right way to pronounce or translate it when reading aloud as has been done for i.e. and e.g. in this question.

Can anyone enlighten me? If the answerers want to explain the particulars of the pronunciation of other abbreviations, they are welcome.

  • 1
    In academic papers it often takes the place of a citation of a formula figure. I usually read it as "see figure bla bla" or "compare with figure bla bla"
    – crasic
    Apr 14, 2011 at 23:48
  • 2
    Cantus firmus. Oh, you mean...
    – RegDwigнt
    Apr 15, 2011 at 6:27

4 Answers 4


In addition to "compare with" you can also say "confer" but that's probably perceived as a little bit pedantic.


"compare with" is what I normally use.


I don't know how common it is, but I normally just pronounce the letters "see eff." Granted, I normally only say it out loud when I'm reading some textbook to myself, but no one's ever remarked on it in other circumstances.

  • In fact, this may be more "correct".
    – Pacerier
    Jul 8, 2014 at 8:41

Well, according to the page you linked, it's pronounced compare.

(In my head I pronounce it as "come from"... as in the analog of "go to". To me cf means something deeper, not merely "think of this in the context of x," but "go, explore x, and then come back here.")


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