The English idiom ‘(to) compare apples and oranges‘ is used when you are comparing two things that are very different and should not (or can not) be compared.

Think about an apple and an orange. The colours, flavours and textures are very different. It’s hard to compare two things that are so different!

Remember: Idioms are English phrases that have a different meaning to the individual words in the phrase. If you hear a native speaker say, “that’s comparing apples to oranges”, they probably aren’t talking about fruit!

Here’s an example:

Alex:                        We looked at three apartments today. Which one did you like most?

David:                     Oh, I don’t know! You are asking me to compare apples and oranges! They were all so different.

Alex:                        I liked the one with the balcony and the big kitchen.

(David couldn’t choose which apartment he liked because they were all very different.)


Can you think of another example of comparing apples and oranges? Write your answers in the comments box below!