I found two different terms regarding relationship:

 "Relationship with the applicant" while filling the invitation form
 "Relationship to the applicant" while filling the application form

Whether both are same? I was writing for my wife. Should I write husband in both the case? I am really confused what to write?

2 Answers 2


A relationship between two people A and B is the set of connections -- familial, social, commercial, etc. -- between them. The relationship of person A to person B means those connections from the one-way point of view of person A. In filling out a form, this is almost always a question about familial connection:

Q: What is (person B's) relationship to the applicant (person A)?
A: Person B is person A's father.

In other words person B's relationship to person A is that of male parent. Usually, this may be turned around from the point of view of person A:

Person A is person B's son.

That is person A's relationship to person B is that of male offspring.

Relationship with usually asks for the broader mutual connections between the two parties:

Q: What is (person B's) relationship with the applicant (person A)?
A: Person B and person A have been business partners for three years. They jointly own three commercial buildings, and Person A has sponsored person B for club membership.

Whether this distinction obtains for this particular application cannot be discerned without having the application posted.

  • Thank you very much for your answer. I was asking about familial connection. I (Brother) was making an application in stead of my sister and I found following two questions to clarify my relationship: (1) Relationship with the applicant (2) Relationship to the applicant. I got confused whether in each case it would be brother / sister or it would be different in different place? Would you please suggest it?
    – Kay
    Nov 17, 2016 at 5:09
  • @Kay Well, this has been hanging fire for a while. Welcome back. I can properly advise you on English usage in general, but I just don't know whether with and to make any difference here because I'm unfamiliar with the application. I don't want to mislead you. Are there no instructions with the application? Can you ask the office which will accept your application?
    – deadrat
    Nov 17, 2016 at 5:16
  • Thank you. I will do that. Anyway, I had already overcome that situation on that day itself by putting brother-sister relationship :D . I was asking for future.
    – Kay
    Nov 18, 2016 at 1:42

I think that the answer would depend on whether you are referring to how people/things are connected, in which case "relationship to" would be better, or how one would qualify or categorize the relationship, in which case "relationship with" would be better.

Ideally, the choice would not be between those two terms, but rather between "relation to" and "relationship with". See "Relation" vs. "Relationship".

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