I'm confused about the expression "better suited." I'm editing a piece that addresses how to write a particular type of article for a particular website. Logically, which is better:

Structurally, the news format is better suited to the customer success story ...

Structurally, the customer success story is better suited to the news format ...

closed as too broad by lbf, Scott, Jim, Mark Beadles, J. Taylor Dec 1 '18 at 23:23

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  • I think we'll find this difficult to answer helpfully without more context, but consider: In Physics, quantum mechanics accurately describes small things like particles, whereas relativity accurately describes things large things like planets (I'm simplifying in the extreme here), so we would say, e.g., "The equations of quantum mechanics are /better suited/ to the motion of neutrinos, while those of relativity are /better suited/ to the motion of stars." I believe there is a bridge reference underlying the phrase (i.e., the strength of card suits), but I can't find a suitable citation. – Phil N. Nov 30 '18 at 19:55
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    It depends. Better than what? Please provide the full text. You can make the comparison against either the subject or the object, but they are handled differently. – Phil Sweet Dec 1 '18 at 2:38

As for the origin of the expression, I immediately thought of being fitted for a suit, not cards (as mentioned in a comment below the question).

But, that aside, when you say that X is better suited for Y, it's normally meant to indicate that X is something better designed for Y (than anything else).

For instance:

Gloves are better suited for hands.

It's ambiguous what the longer version of this could be:

Gloves are better suited for hands than feet.
Gloves are better suited for hands than are boots.

But, despite that, the thing that fits something is listed first, followed by the thing that is being fit.

In your example, you are trying to determine what format is the better fit for achieving customer success.

Therefore, I would say:

Structurally, the news format [gloves] is better suited to the customer success story [hands].


It would appear that your piece would read better if you used the active, the news format suits the customer success story better, than the passive. But whether you think that way round (or its converse, the customer success story is better suited...) rather than the customer success story suits the new format better depends on the shade of meaning you want to convey.

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