36

I've read that both are acceptable but "associated with" is superior. Is there ever a time that "to" is acceptable? Does it matter at all? I'm writing copy for a public website and want to make sure I get this right.

9
  • 1
    I'd stick with "with" here. Google NGrams says it has 50M written instances of "is associated with", but less than 0.5M "is associated to" (which latter form sounds slightly "odd" to me). Aug 15, 2012 at 17:46
  • 2
    ehtimse, please edit your question and quote verbatim the source that refers to associated with as ‘superior’. Thanks! BTW, answers to Difference between “affiliated” and “associated” point out that for affiliated, British English more often uses affiliated to and AE affiliated with Aug 15, 2012 at 17:57
  • Why the down vote? I searched for my question before posting but didn't find any duplicates. I tried to phrase it clearly. I don't understand the psychology of SE loyalists. Aug 16, 2012 at 12:00
  • 3
    I didn't say they were "reputable" sources. I merely said "I've read that...". If they had been reputable references, there would be no point asking this site. The point of my questions was precisely that I needed a reputable site to comment on the issue. Aug 16, 2012 at 21:08
  • 2
    I agree, the SE contributors/moderators often seem excessively picky and snooty about askers' queries rather than really trying to help, "The research was weak" may be an appropriate comment on a university thesis, but on a site like this it seems rather gratuitously pretentious.
    – user218195
    May 4, 2019 at 8:36

10 Answers 10

25

"Associated to" would occasionally be acceptable when speaking about certain IT concepts, but in general purpose usage, "Associated with" is preferable nearly every time.

4
  • 1
    That is an interesting reply. I am steeped in IT vernacular, having spent fifteen years writing software. Seeing the use of "associated to" in IT vernacular may be confusing me about its legitimacy. Aug 15, 2012 at 18:29
  • 1
    Also if you frequently view translated sites, you see "Associated to" because web apps such as Google translate translate word for word, and in Romance languages the translation for "associate" is paired with the translation for "to".
    – Marcus_33
    Aug 15, 2012 at 18:39
  • @Marcus_33 This is not true for Google Translate as it translates phrases where applicable and also from user suggested translations Dec 17, 2014 at 21:17
  • This answer is too vague. If helpful, I'd like to see the IT concepts you are referring to. If you want to distinguish this use from "general purpose usage", you'd have to stipulate what makes the use with these IT concepts different (besides being jargon). Perhaps there is an underlying contextual assumption that may explain the use of "to" in this case, but you haven't clarified the issue. Thanks.
    – Cuc
    Jan 4, 2021 at 6:25
5

I arrived here looking for an answer to "associated with" or "associated to". Instinctively, and being English-speaking born and raised, "associated with" rings well in my ears. I agree with those who express preference for the use of this version.

If, as Elberich Schneider says, "these day" we can use either, then I choose to use "with". These days, lots of things are acceptable that are distasteful.

The quote from J.R. is from a publication in Quebec, where an English article is often a badly translated version of something written in French, or written by someone whose English is "not so good", and so I give it less than full credence, even though the topic of the effects of pesticides is fascinating.

So, I am "with" those who vote for "associated with".

1
  • Hi Randall and welcome. StackExchange sites are for question asking and answering. Do you have a question you'd like to ask? Otherwise mods will probably delete your post.
    – Unrelated
    Jun 14, 2018 at 18:56
4

From my experience as an editor for an international journal, I often see "associated to". When I have noted the authors' affiliation, they were not American. "Associated" is not listed in Garner's Modern American Usage, which sometimes indicates when something is standard British English. It is also not listed in the style guides for the journal I work for, The Economist, or The New York Times. In searching for "associated to" and "associated with" on The Economist web site and my journal's web site, I found both were used. Once in The Economist, they were both used in the same article (http://www.economist.com/node/14115951). In that article, "associated with" was used in a quote from the World Bank, whereas "associated to" was used by the author. However, "associated with" was much more common in both my journal and The Economist.

My conclusion is that "associated with" is preferred, but "associated to" is acceptable.

1
  • There is a typo in "accdptable", but I cannot edit 1 letter. May 29, 2020 at 16:27
2

These day either 'with' or 'to' may be used. Traditionally it was 'associated with', which was preferred in the 1950s. But things have changed, and the use of 'associated to' is now so common as to be unremarkable everywhere.

4
  • 2
    Incorrect grammar and the use of jargon have both grown very common but that's doesn't mean one should use them. No? Aug 16, 2012 at 12:05
  • 1
    No, since the question is on word usage, you are only partially right. Nevertheless, the jargon usage will probably be formally acceptable within a generation. Aug 16, 2012 at 12:13
  • And I am prone to agree with Mr Xavier Vidal Hernández. That sad condition [language absorbing mistakes] is established in something called 'Grammar of Uses' or 'Grammar of Usage' that reunites the frequent-but-so-far -non-grammatically-correct uses of words, expressions and the like and that kind of grammar states what is the next trend for acceptance, let alone dictionarization.
    – user50192
    Aug 21, 2013 at 11:54
  • There is a distinction in my opinion. In most cases 'associated with' is the normal usage and implies a more or less equal status between the parties or objects taking part in the association. The only case where I would use 'associated to' would be in referring to a lower status organisation or person associating themselves to one of higher status. For example the Smallville Gazette might become associated to the Daily Planet.
    – BoldBen
    Dec 9, 2017 at 9:35
1

Both constructions are widely used but there is an important difference between the two:

  • "Associated to" implies a hierarchical dependence where the entity being associated has a lower rank than the entity that becomes the receiver of the association. In "B is associated to A", A carries greater rank than B.
  • "Associated with" implies equal rank. In "B is associated with A", A and B have equal rank and participation.
5
  • I am very interested in this answer. It confirms with my own intuition, but I am not a native English speaker - and also quite used to mathematical / computer science literature. Since I am currently in a situation where the copy-editors have changed every occurrence of "associated to" in a paper by "associated with", I would be quite interested to hear whether you can point to an authoritative source that would explain this distinction? Jul 9, 2020 at 8:14
  • The OED has a long discussion on this subject. In the entry “Associated” there is a description of its use in reference to the learned societies the Enlightenment. There, the construction “Associated” refers to junior or inferiorly ranked member members, implying their lesser hierarchy. However, the philological analysis of the construction is hindered by the word being almost always considered an adjective (“Peter is associated with ideas of Positivism”), when in fact, many times it is a verb (“Well, I associate with Karl Popper”).
    – LDBerriz
    Jul 12, 2020 at 11:56
  • Is there a way to find this discussion in the OED online? Aug 10, 2020 at 16:20
  • My source is the 1971 hardcover edition of the OED. The online entry is shorter and does not have the specific description of the hardcover edition. There are entries both for associate as verb and associated as adjective. The closest entry of the online edition to the hardcover is: "b. To elect as associate: see associate n. 5. 1806 R. Southey in Ann. Rev. 4 582 He..was associated to the royal Academy there. 1859 S. A. Allibone Crit. Dict. Eng. Lit. I. 43/1 The Royal College of Physicians associated him [Akenside] as a licentiate."
    – LDBerriz
    Aug 11, 2020 at 17:42
  • I think this means that "associated to" is a synonym for "became an associate to", yes?
    – Cuc
    Jan 4, 2021 at 6:30
1

I have studied all the answers, but still found them wanting. I looked up the meaning of associate (verb) and found this: "to connect or bring into relation, as thought, feeling, memory, etc." (See associate on dictionary.com)

In the situation where I used it, I first brought one thing into relation to another thing, but not as a thought, feeling or memory (which is normal parlance). I was bringing them into relation as an association (like "the associations you have with a concept"). Analyzing the context in which I used the expression "associated to", I discovered I was improperly using the verb associate! I think that I used "to" with the verb associate because I substituted unconsciously the verb assign for it.

To wit, in a description of game rules, I assigned an ability to a color, and later conveyed that the ability is "associated to" the color. This may be wrong, because I meant to convey that the ability is now associated with that color, but I confused it with trying to say that the ability is assigned to that color. One way or another I made a grammatical error.

This discussion has helped me to resolve the situation. Perhaps this explains the confusion surrounding this subject. Please, check that your intended meaning of "associate" is correct, and that you did not unconsciously substituted the meaning of "assign" or "relate".

0

"Associate to" is being used a lot in my industry unfortunately (federal IT consulting in D.C.). It is incorrect, but because so many illiterates are using it in influential government publications, it is actually gaining widespread acceptance. When most of the country cannot use "lie/lay" correctly, thinks "I should have went" is correct, and will think you're weird if you say "She and I went to the store", there probably isn't much we can do to stop "associate to" from becoming the norm.

0

I believe both are acceptable these days. Even the Standard English language has to adapt eventually. Modern times require a modern-day language, and therefore both can be used normally in English language today.

0

Interesting... I would ask (if I had to find a logic to this) the following question: What is the difference in meaning between the prepositions WITH and TO?

Let's consider the collocation of the verb RELATED and these two prepositions. Which is correct, "related TO" or "related WITH"? He is related to me; he is my brother. (Correct; it implies connection) He is related with me; he is my brother. (Incorrect; it implies collaboration)

If the grammatical object and subject of the sentence in which "associated" is used are in "collaboration", I would use WITH, while if they were in "connection" I would use TO.

Semantics aside, I would use WITH whenever a gerund follows, i.e., "The dangers associated with skydiving are undeniable." This is because TO followed by a gerund is non-standard (and doesn't look great...).

0

When you associate with somebody or something, you do so willingly.

When you are associated with somebody or something, others have noticed the relationship - perhaps close, perhaps tenuous - between you and the other (a politician associated with organised crime); (an actor associated with a particular charity)

When you are associated to somebody or something, you are following orders, or someone is putting you into a particular category: "While depression scores were inversely associated to CR among females (an increase in depression score was associated to lower CR),.." (CR is "cognitive restraint) Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience - Editor’s Pick 2021 edited by Nuno Sousa

And if you "associate to somebody or something", you should choose better words to describe wahtever it is that you are doing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.