'Equal Something' or 'Equal to Something'? | Mastering Grammar

(Last Updated: 7 September 2023)

Equal or Equal To: Which One Is Correct?

The word equal can function as a verb or an adjective. When it is used as a verb, we do not add to after it. It takes a direct object:

Eight times nine equals seventy-two. (8 × 9 = 72)
Eight times nine equals to seventy-two.

Six plus four equals ten. (6 + 4 = 10)
Six plus four equals to ten.

The number on the left equals the number on the right.
The number on the left equals to the number on the right.

The rent equalled two-thirds of his monthly salary.
The rent equalled to two-thirds of his monthly salary.

We use equal to only when equal is used as an adjective:

Eight times nine is equal to seventy-two.

Six plus four is equal to ten.

The number on the left is equal to the number on the right.

The rent was equal to two-thirds of his monthly salary.

Examples from the Media

The UK Passport Office issued more than 200,000 British National (Overseas), or BN(O), passports to Hongkongers in the first 10 months of the year, a rate that roughly equalled five every minute, according to Bloomberg News, which got the data from the UK Passport Office with a Freedom of Information Act request. South China Morning Post (2020)

The impact of humans on the environment is an equation: individual consumption times population equals total consumption. —The Sydney Morning Herald (2019)

The humble recorder is equal to any other instrument. The Guardian (2022)

The distance of the northern road link is equal to driving from Toronto to Montreal, said Greg Rickford, minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. —Toronto Star (2022)


Read each sentence carefully and select either equal or equal to for the blank space. Pay attention to the verb form required in the sentence. 

1. The sum of five and three ________ eight.

2. The two sides of the triangle are not ________ in length.

3. The cost of the new car is ________ my entire year's salary.

4. The length of the rectangle ________ the width.

Answer Key

1. equals    2. equal    3. equal to    4. equals

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