Common idiomatic forms (useful for gmat)

Able to (ability to): No one has been able to prove that the person who wrote Shakespeare’s plays was named Shakespeare.

Account for/account to:
When explaining something, the correct idiom is account for:
We had to account for all the missing money.
When receiving blame or credit, the correct idiom is account to:
You will have to account to the state for your crimes.

As. . . as : She actually is as naive as she appears.

As…so too. .: Just as sand flows through an hourglass, so too flow the days of our lives.
Associate with: Many people associate the smell of vinegar with coloring Easter Eggs.
At least as. . . as: The Eiffel Tower is at least as tall as the Statue of Liberty.

Attribute… to…: I attribute his success to having good friends in high places.
Believe… to be…: The expert believes the painting to be a fraud.

Between. . . and. . .: You must decide between wealth

and fame.
Both. . . and.. .: He is both an artist and a rogue.

Center on vs. center around:
Center around is colloquial. It should not be used in formal writing.
(Faulty) The dispute centers around the effects of undocumented workers.
(Correct) The dispute centers on the effects of undocumented workers.

Compare / compare with
On the GMAT, compare with is the generally preferred form. Use compare to to point out an abstract or figurative likeness, and compare with to consider likenesses and differences in general.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Compared with a summer’s day, it’s cold outside.

Conform to (not with):
Stewart’s writing does not conform to standard literary conventions.
Connection between
I saw little connection between her words and her deeds.

Consequence of
One consequence of the Supreme Court decision was increased public distrust in the judicial system.

I consider you a very good friend.
Note: Although consider. . . to be is also correct, it will never be correct on the GMAT because the simple consider is preferred..

Continue to
Do not continue to deny the obvious.

I like to contrast my plaid pants with a lovely paisley jacket.

Correspond to/with:
Correspond to means “in agreement with”:
The penalty does not correspond to the severity of the crime.
Correspond with means “to exchange letters”:
He corresponded with many of the top European leaders of his time

Credit… with…
James Joyce is often credited with the invention of the literary form called stream of consciousness.

Debate over
This idiom only applies when debate is used as a noun.
They held a lively debate over whom to throw off the island.

Decide to
She decided to go to the party after all.

Define… as…
My dictionary defines a clause as group of words containing a subject and a verb.

Different from
Not different than.
John Major’s policies were not very different from those of Margaret Thatcher.

Difficult to
It’s difficult to disagree with such a persuasive argument.
Dispute over
This idiom applies only when dispute is used as a noun.
The dispute over how to read the punchcards was never properly resolved.

Distinguish between. . . and. . .
Some colorblind people cannot distinguish between red and green.

Distinguish. . . from. . .
Other colorblind people find it difficult to distinguish blue from purple.

Double versus twice (triple versus three times, etc..)
On the GMAT, double (triple, quadruple, etc..

Common idiomatic forms (useful for gmat)