“Relationship To” vs. “Relationship With”: Correct Version (12 Examples)

You might want to say that you’re in a relationship to or with, but you might not be entirely sure which preposition is the correct one to use. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll look at the differences between them both and whether one is more correct.

“Relationship To” Or “Relationship With”: Which Is Correct?

“Relationship to” and “relationship with” are both correct. “Relationship to” is used to talk about a direct relationship (usually romantic or familial) between two people. “Relationship with” is used to talk about a broader mutual connection between two people.

"Relationship To" Or "Relationship With": Which Is Correct?

According to The Cambridge Dictionary, “relationship” means “the way in which two things are connected.” We can use that to show that no matter which of the two prepositions we use, we’re always talking about a connection between two things.

We also can take a look at this graph to see which one is more popular. “Relationship with” is by far the most popular preposition, and it’s been rising exponentially over the last 40 years. “Relationship to” seems to be much less common.

relationship to vs relationship with historical development

To emphasize this, according to Google, “relationship to” is mentioned 18,900 times on The New York Times website, while “relationship with” is mentioned 111,000 times. That shows just how much of a difference in popularity there is between them.

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Does The Preferred Choice Differ In American English And British English?

While it’s good to see what the difference in preference is as a whole, sometimes it’s good to go even further than that. American English and British English typically follow different language rules, which sometimes makes one thing right in one language but wrong in the other.

In the case of “relationship with” and “relationship to,” it seems that both American English and British English follow the same rules.

You can take a look at this graph showing the popularity of the words in American English. The trend line seems to be almost identical to the one we showed you with the global audience earlier in the article. “Relationship with” is the most popular choice.

relationship to vs relationship with American English

The same also applies in this graph of British English usage. “Relationship with” is growing exponentially and is the most popular choice. The only difference is that “relationship to” is slightly more common in British English.

relationship to vs relationship with British English

The two languages use the same rules when it comes to putting in the prepositions after “relationship.” There are no apparent differences in popularity.

Example Sentences: “Relationship To” And “Relationship With”

So, let’s finish up the article with a handful of example sentences. We’ll include both variations with as many different possibilities as we can think of. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of when to use each one.

Relationship To

  1. What is your relationship to the patient?
  2. My relationship to my son is fairly obvious.
  3. What is your relationship to her?
  4. Can we talk about our relationship to the event?
  5. Let’s discuss our relationship to each other.
  6. We should think about our relationship to our parents.

Generally, “relationship to” is the less popular form. It feels jarring for many native readers to see. However, that doesn’t mean it’s incorrect. All of these sentences still make perfect sense.

The expected answer for each question is more specific and to the point, than you would usually receive if asking about someone’s “relationship with” someone else.

For example:

  • What is your relationship to the patient?
  • The patient is my son.

When using “relationship to,” we’re asking for direct familial or romantic relationships in some way.

Relationship With

  1. What is your relationship with your mother like?
  2. I think I should mention that I’m in a relationship with her.
  3. Your relationship with each other is getting out of hand!
  4. What is your relationship with the client like?
  5. We should discuss our relationship with a therapist.
  6. What is your relationship with her all about?

Generally, when we use “relationship with,” we’re asking for a more general response. We usually ask a deeper question that sets up a longer answer for someone to discuss with us.

This is by far the more popular choice of the two, and you can expect most native speakers to use “relationship with” in all cases.

Here’s an example to see what a common response may look like:

  • What is your relationship with the client like?
  • I believe that we have a good connection, and I reckon he’s a few good drinks away from signing the contract with us!

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