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Grammar detail: 〜と比べて(とくらべて)

〜と比べて(とくらべて) - compared to ~
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noun
+
くら
べて
means
in comparison to ~
いぜん
以前
くら
べて
てがみ
手紙
じん
かず
ってきている

The number of people who write letters is decreasing in comparison with the past.
Note that the form に比べて also exists, but it carries an implication about the relative merits or capabilities of the elements being compared, whereas と比べて does not, so in general と比べて is the safer option.
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Kanji used in this grammar

ヒ   くらべる to compare   
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イ    (prefix) or   
ゼン   まえ before   
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シュ   hand   て    た-    
シ   かみ paper   
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ショ   か to write   
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ジン   ニン   ひと person   
スウ   ス   かず number   かぞえる to count   
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ゲン   へ become less   へらす reduce   
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