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Same vs. Similar (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use same vs. similar with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Many of the issues people have with grammar (and language in general) is mistaking similar for same things. So, let's look at how the words same and similar actually differ.

(Grammar Rules for Writers.)

Same vs. Similar

Same means that two (or more) things are identical. For instance, a person might have two identical plastic cups or three pairs of ankle-cut socks by the same company and in the same color.

Similar means that two (or more) things are nearly identical but not quite. For instance, a person may have a couple rocks made of granite that are generally the same size but with unique shapes and weights.

Make sense?

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Here are a few examples:

Correct: We both had the same minivan down to the model, color, and year.
Also correct: We both had similar minivans, because they're both new and blue.

Correct: They have similar dogs with short hair and friendly attitudes.
Incorrect: They have the same dogs with short hair and friendly attitudes.

While they're similar, same and similar don't mean the same thing.

Learn more in the online course, Grammar and Mechanics, from Writer’s Digest University:

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