During the summer months of June, July and August, I’ll post a 3-part series on helpful writing tips by Barbara.
Have you ever wondered about the distinction between “like” or “such as” in your writing? Here are two phrases to consider:
. . . the answers that so-called geniuses like / such as Newton seem to embody.
. . . centuries of innovations like / such as the airplane and the space shuttle have resulted.
In these examples, “such as” is preferred over “like” because the word “like” implies comparison while “such as” implies inclusion. That means being like something doesn’t include the thing itself.
In the first phrase, Newton is intended to be included as a so-called genius, so “such as” is the correct choice. In the second phrase, the airplane and space shuttle are examples of innovations meant to be included within this context. In contrast, the sentence “he’s like a fish swimming upstream” provides a clear comparison.
Your challenge: When you’re about to write “like,” ask this question: Would I include this point in a list or exclude it? The answer becomes your clue to select either “like” (exclude) or “such as” (include).
Today’s Word Trippers for Better Writing:
Adopt, adapt – “Adopt” means to take as one’s own as in someone else’s child, to choose something such as a lifestyle, or to formally accept something such as a position or principle. “Adapt” means to adjust to various conditions. “When you adopt a young girl, be sure to make it easy for her to adapt to your living environment.”
Conscientious, conscience – The adjective “conscientious” means scrupulous or careful, concerned with doing something correctly. It relates to one’s conscience, a noun referring to the part of the mind that makes us aware of our actions as either morally right or wrong. Guilty feelings weigh on our conscience.
“The student’s conscience didn’t allow him to cheat on his exam—a sign of being a conscientious person.”
“After lying to her mom—something her conscience told her not to—the conscientious teenager felt weighed down by guilt.”
When you know how to write with precision and accuracy, your professional reputation builds and your career can soar. Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping business professionals add power to their pen. To assist in this mission, she has created a word choice guide Word Trippers: The Ultimate Source for Choosing the Right Word When It Really Matters with details at www.WordTrippers.com.