Is there a difference when we say “On Par With” or “On a Par With”? Is one form correct and the other not?
Let’s work on them’, to find out the meaning of the expression “On (a) Par With”, as well as when and how it should be used.
Both “On Par With” and “On a Par With” are correct. “On Par” means at the same level or standard as something else. To state this idea, both “On a Par With” and “On Par With” can be used interchangeably.
Take a look at some examples:
- Maria’s cake wasn’t on par with the others in the competition.
- Maria’s cake wasn’t on a par with the others in the competition.
- Henry’s cookies weren’t on a par with Maria’s.
- Henry’s cookies weren’t on par with Maria’s.
As you can see, in both sets of sentences, “On a Par With” and “On Par With” work just the same. In sentence one, we compare Maria’s cake with all the others in a competition. Hers wasn’t “On Par With” them, meaning it wasn’t as good.
In sentence two, when we compare Henry’s cookies with Maria’s cookies we see both expressions delivering the same message.
At the end of the day, it’s about what you feel more comfortable saying and which form you would choose to incorporate to your vocabulary. To use “On Par With” or “On a Par With” is a matter of personal preference.
“On Par With” is a form we use to compare items, or describe how they compare when put side by side (literally or figuratively) with similar items. “On Par With” indicates we’re comparing one item with items that resemble it somehow.
Take a look at those examples, to see the use “On Par With” in a sentence:
- Theo’s math grades were not even close to being on par with the class’.
- Matthew’s attitude was almost on par with that of an angry animal.
- Adrians writing skills would never be on par with mine.
- Her skills were on par with the best in the industry.
- Tom’s management skills were almost on par with his bosses.
In those sentences, we see “On Par With” being used to illustrate comparisons between two single things (like Adrian’s skills with mine) as well as the comparison on an item with a group of similar ones (like Theo’s grades and Tom’s management skills).
The expression works in both cases.
Just like “On Par With”, the form “On a Par with” can be used to compare similar items – individually or in a group.
Take a look at those examples, to see the use “on a par with” in a sentence:
- Zion’s fashion sense was almost on a par with the designer’s.
- His new book is on a par with his previous best sellers.
- The new version of the app is on a par with the old one.
- Don’t worry, Jason will be on a par with his peers in no time.
- As a new researcher, it takes time and effort to become on a par with my colleagues.
“On a Par With” can be used to compare singular items and an item with a group of things. It works just the same, and it can be interchanged with “On Par With”.
“On Par With” and “On a Par With” mean basically the same, but are they used with the same frequency? Take a look at the graph from Google Ngram Viewer below, to find out which form is most common.
For a long time, “On a Par With” was used with much more frequency than “On Par With”. However, since the 1970’s, the use of “On a Par With” started to slightly decline, while the use of “On Par With” increased considerably.
Now, both expressions are used almost the same (although “On a Par With” remains more common).
Sometimes, we find in English language words and expressions that mean the same and can be used interchangeably. This is the case with “On Par With” and “On a Par With”. They are both used to compare items, and follow the same rule. Just choose your favorite, and use it.