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When I was looking up the word 'affiliate', the dictionary offered the example sentences which I've been really confused from.


The actual meaning of the word 'affiliate' is

  • to cause a group to become part of OR form a close relationship with another, usually larger, group, or oganization.

Now, which sentence applies to which meaning?

  1. A ​college affiliated to the University of Mumbai.
  2. The ​school is affiliated with a ​national ​association of ​driving schools.

I assume that the first sentence means that 2 schools have associated so now, they work as a whole and the second one refers to the fact, that these 2 companies have just a good relationship that helps them to be both more profitable. Am I right?

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    I don't think your distinction has any justification whatsoever. Affiliation is invariably a relatively "formal" process, and the fact that with is used far more often is just a matter of established idiomatic preference, nothing to do with any supposed difference in meaning. Mar 9, 2016 at 15:38
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    After viewing Google NGrams, it appears "to" is British and "with" is American. Before seeing the data, I, an American, would have said that "to" is simply wrong.
    – jejorda2
    Mar 9, 2016 at 15:43
  • Thank you for your response. The data come from The Cambridge Dictionary where is nothing mentioned about the differences.
    – Domi
    Mar 9, 2016 at 16:02
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    In general, "affiliate with" suggests an equal relationship, while "affiliate to" a subordination. So the frequency of either phrase may also depend on the frequency of various kinds of affiliations in either geography.
    – Nemo
    Jan 1, 2017 at 11:36

1 Answer 1

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There is no difference between affiliate to and affiliate with. Both prepositions can be used indifferently. I've seen "affiliate to" in relating two colleges or a college to a university. However, affiliate with is more common and used predominantly.

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