Apples And Oranges


"Apples and oranges."


"The comparison you just made is inappropriate because the

two things you compared are so different from each other that

they should not be compared."


People use this expression to reject others' comparisons.

As such, this expression is often used in debates.


Dorothy:      “Did you see the debate last night?"

Kimberly:     “Yeah, Biden was really good.”

Dorothy:      “I disagree. Trump beat him."

Kimberly:     “Trump is terrible.”

Dorothy:      “He's a jerk, but he's good for the economy and law and order."

Kimberly:    “Biden would help the economy, too.”

Dorothy:      Apples and oranges. Trump is a business person. Biden is a politician."


1. Literature Reference: Author David Edgerley Gates uses this expression in a 2017 short story for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, "Cabin Fever," to contrast two characters' success in finding individuals they are tracking:

“You look ridden hard and put away wet.”

“No joy,” he told her, without ceremony. “We saw his truck but we didn’t find Hector.”

“Your bedside manner needs a little work,” she said.

He smiled. “Least said, soonest mended.”

“What about your bad guys?”

“Apples and oranges,” Child said.

“You sure?”

“Somebody spent the night at a dude ranch on the Boulder, maybe ten miles west of here. Might have been Hector, might be our fugitives. Either way, they’d head in this direction. It’s their only safe way out of the fire.”

2. Media Reference #1: Journalist Emily J. Sullivan uses this expression in an April 17th, 2020 article for The New York Times, entitled "I Gave My Tinder Date Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease," to contrast socializing with children and doing so with adults: "I was lonely. Yes, I had my beautiful twin babies to fill my days with purpose and laughter, and the days whizzed by. I hurried behind the girls as they learned to crawl, then chased them as they learned to waddle and then to run, usually in opposite directions. But the company of your children is apples and oranges to the company of adults. The more the days whizzed by, the rustier I began to feel — and nobody wants to find cobwebs in her lingerie drawer." (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/17/parenting/dating-single-parent.html)

3. Media Reference #2: Journalist Ari Shapiro uses this expression in a March 8th, 2019 NPR interview ("The Disparity Between Manafort's Sentence And Other Crime Sentences") to describe differences in criminal prosecution at the state and federal levels: "To some extent, we're talking about apples and oranges. Most of the cases that you handle are in state court. Paul Manafort was prosecuted in federal court. How big a difference does that make?" (https://www.npr.org/2019/03/08/701671554/the-disparity-between-manaforts-sentence-and-other-crime-sentences) (At 3 minutes and 12 seconds into the broadcast.)

4. Media Reference #3: Matt Jones's character of "Badger" uses this expression in season 4, episode 2 of the television series Breaking Bad ("Thirty-Eight Snub")in a debate with another character on the merits of different video game zombies: "Dude, that's because they're not even zombies! They're just infected. They got, like, this rage virus. Amps them up like they've been smoking the schwag! Apples and oranges, bro. Totally unfair to compare the two." (At 11 minutes and 5 seconds into the episode. Originally aired July 24th, 2011.)

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