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Sexing butterflies

Grammar Girl spends some time today on the distinction some writers and editors maintain between like and such as. She generally supports the distinction, but I must, with regret, dissent.*

In fact, she undermines her own argument by presenting sentences exemplifying the distinction and then adding two in which it is impossible to determine which sense is intended. Or see how the meaning is altered.

Perhaps you have ever so much more time than I do in editing and can enjoy the leisure of maintaining gossamer distinctions. Or of sexing butterflies. For my part, I consider like and such as to be interchangeable, and I leave them as I find them.

 

*Quoting Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage in a previous post, I challenged readers to mark the distinction in a set of sentences. Predictably, they could not agree.

 

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