Posted by: episystechpubs | March 21, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Don’t Say Where When You Mean Which

Today I want to talk about when to use the word where and when to use the word which. Let’s just jump right into a couple of examples, so you know what I’m talking about.

· Episys® presents a dialog box where you can choose to use the standard or deluxe PowerOn® editor.

· Join us for this session where we use business cases to show you better ways to access and use data with different tools, including Excel®.

The two sentences above may seem fine to you, and that’s because you may hear people speak this way. However, in professional circles, this kind of writing is considered too conversational. Typically, the word where denotes a physical location, so the preferred, professional choice is which. A suggested revision for the first example would be:

· Episys presents a dialog box at which you can choose to use the standard or deluxe PowerOn editor.

If that seems too stuffy (and I would say that it does), you can always revise the sentence further:

· When the dialog box appears, choose the standard or deluxe PowerOn editor.

Now, here’s a suggestion for how to revise the second example from above:

· Join us for this session in which we use business cases to show you better ways to access and use data with different tools, including Excel.

That sentence is OK, but it could be even better. Here’s a smoother option:

· During this session, we will use business cases to show you better ways to access and use data with different tools, including Excel®.

Yeah, that’s more like it! As you can see, it often takes more than one attempt to come up with a sentence that is both professional and succinct. Take the time. Your audience will appreciate it!

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432


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