same (4) Today: In Ill-Formed Phrases. Part A: *"Same . . . as are." “Are” often appears superfluously when writers state that two or more things are identical — e.g.: “Tucson officials say they are not in the same financial straits as are [read ‘as’] officials in Boston, where bankruptcy remains a possibility.” Stephanie Innes, “Damage Done: Church Plagued by Loss of Trust,” Ariz. Daily Star, 28 Dec. 2002, at A1. If the verb seems desirable after the “as” — because the reader wouldn’t automatically supply it — then it’s best to avoid inversion. That is, instead of writing that *”horses are required to undergo the same veterinary examination as are Hereford cattle,” write that “horses are required to undergo the same veterinary examination as Hereford cattle are.” E.g.: “They’re targeted at the same high-risk groups as are flu shots [read as ‘flu shots are’] — those over 65 and anyone with a chronic health problem.” “Pneumonia, Other Vaccinations Available,” Tampa Trib., 24 Oct. 1995, at 1. Part B: *"Same difference." This phrase is an illogical American casualism that is to be avoided not only in writing but in speech as well. “It’s all the same,” “It’s the same thing,” etc. are better. But: “Six minus three yields the same difference as seven minus four.” Language-Change Index — *"same difference": Stage 2. *Invariably inferior forms. For information about the Language-Change Index, click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “It is bad form to wear a flannel shirt with a dress coat, or a white lawn tie with a sack suit. It is quite as bad form to punctuate badly, to misspell, or to make mistakes in grammar, even if the clearness of your writing is not seriously impaired.” Henry Seidel Canby et al., English Composition in Theory and Practice xiv (rev. ed. 1924).
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