I've been reading a novel when I came across this sentence:

Her being so helpless unlike her normal self made me a bit sad.

I want to ask about that "unlike" in the sentence. Is it correct to use it there, and if I replace it with "compared to", will the meaning of the sentence change?

Thanks for your answers!


1 Answer 1


Merriam-Webster says that unlike means not characteristic of, and it is correctly used in your sentence. Compared to means in relation to (something else) : measured or judged against (something else). I understand why you are thinking of compared to, but these two expressions are not perfectly interchangeable.

Note that compared to her normal self is not idiomatic. Gngram finds no instance of it.

Compared to is

used when considering the size, quality, or amount of something in relation to something similar


  • Compared to our small flat, Bill’s house seemed like a palace.


  • "Having said that, both your....." - doesn't it need some clarity on 'who said'?
    – Ram Pillai
    Dec 19, 2020 at 13:50
  • If you are talking about 'absolute construction', what you have used is not that. Anyway, you have now corrected/ edited it. The previous one was wrong; else I wouldn't have raised it. If I were, I would have gladly accepted it and said, "I have modified it." I know all people can't do that.
    – Ram Pillai
    Dec 19, 2020 at 17:12
  • "In your earlier comment, "Having said that,..." was not followed by "I think". It was something like "Having said that,....both.......which was wrong; and that is what caught my attention. Now that you have edited it, it is correct.
    – Ram Pillai
    Dec 19, 2020 at 17:22
  • I may also advise you to review your reply; you will definitely find scope for refining it, on other aspects...
    – Ram Pillai
    Dec 19, 2020 at 17:24
  • @RamPilai: I have edited my answer after your comment.
    – fev
    Dec 19, 2020 at 17:55

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