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In the following sentence, is using "more similar" correct?

I learned Java in school; it's more similar to C++ than C.

Is there any better way to say it?

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  • That's a perfectly fine way to put it.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 11:38
  • 1
    Also, "JAVA is closer to C++ than C".
    – Eilia
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 11:49
  • Thank you. Thank Eilia for editing the question for a wider audience. I will see to it from now on. Closer.
    – Babbzzz
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 4:13
  • You'll want to spell JAVA as Java, because Java not an acronym. If this is for a job looking for C skills, you'll want to emphasize that C++ is almost a superset of C. So a direct translation of your statement is "I learned Java in school, which is more like C++ than C." Something that emphasizes the advantages of knowing Java over C is "I know Java, which is similar to C++, which is practically superset of C". Note that if an employer is specifically advertising for C and not C++, your knowledge of Java won't help your cause. There are many C developers out there.
    – jimm101
    Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 1:38
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    It's certainly better than "similarer".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 1:55

2 Answers 2

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Yes, it is perfectly grammatical. The Corpus of Contemporary American English has 189 cites, and the British National Corpus has 29. Here are some examples:

  • According to Gallup, the economic and political climate today is more similar to years when incumbent presidents lost than when they won. CBS This Morning (SPOKEN)

  • Honeybees are great for testing effects on biological clocks, Warman says, because their clock genes are more similar to mammals' than to those of other insects studied so far. Science News (MAGAZINE)

  • Are they rather similar more similar to France in administration than Britain? Ideas in action programmes (RADIO BROADCAST)

  • People are not more similar to each other today than they were in their grandparents' time. The blind watchmaker. Dawkins, Richard. (BOOK)

  • Further, because the effects of partial harvest treatments in our study were more similar to those in the control treatment than to the clearcut treatments, some species that benefit from some open canopy or early-successional habitat for reproduction may be reduced or excluded (e.g., chorus frogs, toads). Bioscience (ACADEMIC)

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  • Thank you. What do you think about using "JAVA is closer to C++ than C" as suggested by Eilia?
    – Babbzzz
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 4:14
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Your suggested usage is correct, grammatical and justifiable.

Many definitions of similar are similar to this one from Cambridge:

Cambridge
similar
looking or being almost the same, although not exactly

The concept of being not exactly the same is quantifiable in logic and mathematics. For examples:
{2,5,8} is identical (=completely similar) to {2,5,8}
{0,0,0} is entirely dissimilar to {1,10,100,1000}
{0,1,2,3} is more like {0,1,1,3} than {0,1,5,5}

Quantitative indices of similarity are used to measure differences in the species composition of biological communities. Temperate forest is more similar in its plants to tropical forest than to arid desert.

Quantitative measures are also used to measure the likelihood of plagiarism. For example:

IGI Global
Similarity Index:
The percentage of overlap between text submitted to plagiarism detection and that in original source material.

As a simple example:
"To be or not to exist" is more similar (83%) to "To be or not to be" than "To be or perhaps to die" (67%).

Such quantitative usages of similar justify the general use of comparatives such as more similar and most similar

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