May 6, 2010

Weekly Language Usage Tips: Importune or important & in addition and also

Posted in importune or important, in addition and also at 9:41 am by dlseltzer

It seems to be the time for grant proposal writing. My life has been so busy that I hadn’t had time to think about the WLUT and what topics I might address, but life has a way of working out, and yesterday, while reviewing a grant proposal I came across some items that form the basis for today’s brief but important tips.

Tip 1: Importune or important

In a grant proposal, I read the following:

We will collect feedback from subjects about their satisfaction with the intervention and, more importunely, the effect of the intervention on their willingness to participate in research again.

Yikes.

Please know that importune is not a fancy way of saying important. It is a different part of speech and means something altogether different. Importune is a verb and means to beg incessantly or beseech persistently.

Important is an adjective, and you know what it means. I guess the take home message for this tip is to proofread your writing carefully, and don’t reach for ‘fancier’ terms. You want to state your case clearly and simply. And don’t use ‘utilize.’ (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

This is how the sentence should read:

We will collect feedback from subjects about their satisfaction with the intervention and, more importantly, the effect of the intervention on their willingness to participate in research again.

[NOTE: For the record, while the phrase ‘more importantly’ is correct, it would also be correct to use the phrase ‘more important.’

We will collect feedback from subjects about their satisfaction with the intervention and, more important, the effect of the intervention on their willingness to participate in research again.

There are some that view ‘more important’ as the better phrasing, but I don’t think using one or the other is anything that will hurt you at all…unless you use importunely or utilize.]

Tip 2: In addition & also

I also ran across this sentence yesterday:

In addition to the course evaluations, we will also conduct focus groups with the trainees.

In addition and also share the same meaning, so using both in a sentence is redundant and reduces the clarity of your writing. Delete also.

In addition to the course evaluations, we will conduct focus groups with the trainees.

And that’s it. Now, back to reading and writing grant proposals.

1 Comment »

  1. Mary Weber said,

    You are providing a very useful service on this page. Could you please send these tips to my email? Thank you.


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