I saw an idiom that is used to compare one person, group, etc. with another that is much better.

I forgot what it is, but I remember it can be used in a question form like 'How can you ___ ?', rejecting a comparison between, say, the Beatles and the Spice Girls.

It is not 'mention in the same breath', or anything to with 'in the same league'.

I'd appreciate your help.

  • There's an idiom that the two things "don't belong in the same sentence"; you could extrapolate that into "How can you use those two in the same sentence?" in your example. Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 14:07
  • 3
    BINGO: to compare apples to oranges. Right? :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 14:39
  • The problem is, apples can be compared to oranges.  I prefer more hyperbolical contrasts, like "apples to bowling balls" or "apples to hand grenades". Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 16:23
  • @Scott: The trouble is, apples and bowling balls can be compared. Likewise apples and hand grenades.
    – Drew
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 0:10

2 Answers 2


Bear or stand comparison with:

  • to be sufficiently similar in class or range to be compared with (something else), especially favourably.

(Collins Dictionary)

  • How can you bear comparison with ...


on a par with:

  • comparable with



There's no comparison between The Beatles and The Spice Girls.
(whatever is mentioned first is considered superior)

http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-cobuild/there%20is%20no%20comparison "If you say there is no comparison between one thing and another, you mean that you think the first thing is much better than the second, or very different from it. There is no comparison between the knowledge and skill of such a player and the ordinary casual participant."

  • I think that your answer received downvotes because it focuses on the question of proper ordering of the elements in a comparison of very unequal things—but the poster's question asks simply for an idiomatic phrase that describes such a comparison, such as "How can you compare apples and cotton candy?" (if that were an idiomatic phrase).
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 19:20
  • Thank you for your input, much appreciated. Because both The Spice Girls and The Beatles were music groups, I didn't see them as disparate things, but similar, though of varying quality, hence the expression I provided, though I may have misinterpreted the intent of the person asking the question. Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 19:41

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