Thursday, February 05, 2009

Effective Writing Tips

Posted by Amanda Walsh

This article caught my attention as I have become very interested in the differences of the Spanish and English languages since coming to Spain four months ago. I have learned to appreciate the variety of word selections and meanings in both languages. The author of this article, Denise Baron, serves as director of global communications with Merck & Co. In the article she compares the meanings of words like "while" and "although;" "different from" and "different than;" and "since" and "because." Baron advises her readers on using words in the English language effectively to avoid ambiguity through writing.

According to the article, the primary definition of while, is "during or throughout the time that." Below is her example that shows the differences in meaning:

While we partner with XYZ Inc., we can also partner with one of XYZ's competitors.
It is better to use: Although we partner with XYZ Inc., we can also partner with one of XYZ's competitors.

Baron points out that "Different from" is correct and should always be used. This is clearly evident in the example below.

Incorrect: That version is different than the one I reviewed earlier.
Correct: That version is different from the one I reviewed earlier.

Baron’s last example demonstrates the difference in meanings and implications. The use of "because" is preferred according to the Associated Press Stylebook which is the main reference for public relations writers and journalists.

Drew's been miserable since Dinah went away.
Drew's been miserable, because Dinah went away.

The second example shows that Drew's unhappiness was caused by Dinah's leaving, whereas the first example implies his unhappiness began when she left.

These writing tips along with the Associate Press Stylebook can help you avoid confusion or misunderstandings when you write.

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