'Relate to' or 'Relate With': Which is Correct?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on November 3, 2022

Are you struggling with whether to write ‘relate to’ or ‘relate with’? This article will cover that, as well as how to use the phrase appropriately.

The short answer is:

  • That ‘relate to’ is the correct way to say this phrase.
  • Though both of these phrases are technically correct, it’s grammatically correct to say 'relate to' most of the time.

When Do You Use ‘Relate To’ Versus ‘Relate With’

So, how do you know when it's acceptable to use 'relate to' versus 'relate with'? Let's take a look at both cases.

When to Use ‘Relate To’

The most common way to use the phrase is to say ‘relate to.’ You’d use the phrase ‘relate to’ when the meaning of the verb is about connections. For example, you might tell someone you relate to each other because you have a few things in common. You might also tell someone you can relate to their pain because you’ve experienced something similar to theirs.

When to Use ‘Relate With’

 On the other hand, when the verb is about communication, you’d typically use the phrase ‘relate with.’ It can also be used when ‘relate’ is expressed repetitively.

‘Relate To’ Definition and Meaning

Let’s quickly define the term ‘relate to.’

According to Merriam-Webster, the term ‘relate to’ can be defined as:

  • to connect (something) with (something else)
  • to understand and like or have sympathy for (someone or something)
  • used to describe how someone talks or behaves toward (someone else)
  • to be connected with (someone or something): to be about (someone or something)

Cambridge defines the term as:

  • To find or show the connection between two or more things

Which is Preferable – ‘Relate To’ or ‘Relate With’

As you learned in the previous section, ‘relate to’ and ‘relate with’ each have their own place in the English language.

Is it Okay to Use ‘Relate With’

In some cases, it’s okay to use ‘relate with’ instead of ‘relate to,’ which we’ve touched on briefly in previous sections.

Understanding Prepositions

Understanding prepositions means knowing exactly what they are. A preposition can be defined as:

  • A function word that typically combines with a noun phrase to form a phrase that usually expresses a modification or predication.

In simple terms, a preposition is a word or group of words used before a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase to show direction, time, place, location, or spatial relationships or to introduce an object.

Let’s look at some examples so you know exactly what we mean.

Examples of Prepositions

Some examples of prepositions include words like:

  • Onto
  • Into
  • To
  • Of
  • On
  • At
  • In
  • Within
  • Beneath
  • Next To
  • Among
  • Between
  • Near

Prepositions can be tricky. Do you say interested in or interested on? On Friday or in Friday? Unto or Onto?


Prepositions that give direction are words like “onto,” “on,” “into,” and “in.”


Preposition words that describe places are “over,” next to,” “underneath,” “over,” and “at.”


Prepositions that discuss time include words like “at,” “on,” or “in.”

Spatial Relationships

Prepositions that describe spatial relationships include words like “toward,” “around,” “behind,” and “among.”

How to Use the Phrase in a Sentence Correctly

Now that we’ve got a bit of background information on prepositions and how to use the phrases correctly, let’s look at some examples of how to use them in a sentence.

Check out examples of how to use ‘relate to’ in a sentence:

  • I can easily relate to Mary; we have so much in common.
  • I can relate to Ariana Grande and the struggles she went through.
  • I relate to my cousins better than my own siblings; it’s weird.

Now, let’s see some examples of how to use ‘relate with’ in a sentence:

  • I relate with this story so much more than the others.
  • She relates well with her clients and colleagues.
  • I can’t relate with the fear you’re experiencing.

Final Thoughts on Using ‘Relate To’ and ‘Relate With’

To recap, using ‘relate to’ is the phrase you might hear most often, although it’s still correct to say ‘relate with’ in some cases.

Remember, you’d use the phrase ‘relate to’ when the meaning of the verb is about connections. However, when the verb is about communication, you’d use the phrase ‘relate with.’

For example, you’d say, ‘I relate to Anna really well.’ Or ‘I relate with this book so well.’

If your brain farts prevent you from remembering this info in the future, don’t be afraid to come back and check out our library of confusing words. We’ve got you covered on dozens of topics, words, and phrases.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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