Learn English – Which preposition to use with “juxtaposed”


Are things juxtaposed to or juxtaposed with other things?

  1. The slimy seaweed was startling, juxtaposed to/with the hot smooth sand.
  2. I moved the painting to the other wall so that it would be juxtaposed to/with the sculpture that inspired it.

Does the side-by-side nature of juxtapose dictate this, or does it depend on the perceived relationship between the elements?

Best Answer

As the Ngrams show, you can get away with juxtaposed with, to, or against. I prefer with because to implies some sort of subject-object or other asymmetrical relationship while with is used when the relationship is symmetrical. "I am talking to you" is different than "you are talking to me" and both are different than "I am talking with you." "A is juxtaposed with B" is the same as "B is juxtaposed with A."

It doesn't really make sense for one thing to be juxtaposed to the other except maybe in the case where one is talking about the physical act of moving A next to B. I would guess that people using to are referring to that literally or figuratively. Not only I juxtaposed the painting to the sculpture that inspired it but also We've been talking about the poverty of the bottom 10%, which is bad enough, but when that is juxtaposed to the wealth of the top 10% how can you not be outraged?

Still, I would use with exclusively.