I find myself always wondering which is the grammatically correct expression or, provided that both are correct, whether there are differences between their meaning. One example:

Passage A in this book is identical to/with passage B in that book.

To me it seems as if both could be used here.

Nonetheless, someone on the net claims that his university's style sheet says that "identical to" is grammatically incorrect and ought to be avoided. (I mention this just as an example)

Yet, the online version of the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary allows both and even makes a difference between their meaning:

Her dress is almost identical to mine.


The number on the card should be identical with the one on the chequebook.

  • related: english.stackexchange.com/q/142495/39051 Jan 9, 2015 at 8:56
  • I suggest you use the "Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary", where you can find answers to all or most of your questions. As to the topic here, "identical to/with" are equally used, and have slight difference in meaning.
    – Julius
    Jan 25, 2017 at 7:33

2 Answers 2


To my (AmE) ear, identical to sounds better.

  • These stones are optically, chemically and physically identical to natural, mined diamonds, but they suffer from a longstanding image problem. The New York Times
  • Generic drugs are chemically identical to brand name drugs, equally effective and prescribed for the same purposes. The Chicago Tribune
  • This difference is nearly identical to the 70 percent of non-white voters who supported the birth control mandate in 2012... The Washington Post
  • The bill is identical to one that failed to pass the Senate by a single vote in November... The Boston Globe
  • In fact, long sequences of dog mitochondrial DNA are similar or identical to those in gray wolves... The Atlantic

If it's good enough for the above, it should be good enough for your friend.


Both phrases are grammatically correct and interchangeable, to me at least. In general, it's not a good idea to refer to obscure grammar manuals to decide what is grammatical. The important question to ask is "Is the phrase recognized by native speakers of English as being grammatical?" If so, any grammar manual that says otherwise doesn't have a leg to stand on.

I think in this case, both phrases are used commonly and are identical in meaning.

  • Always assuming that native speakers of English can recognise what is and isn't grammatical.
    – Martin
    Jan 9, 2015 at 9:27
  • "doesn't have a leg to stand on" is a nice English phrase I'll remember... :-) Mar 6, 2019 at 11:47

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