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This vs So

 
 
Reply Mon 20 Feb, 2017 10:08 pm
I've been told that it's bad to start sentences with "this" or refer to ideas as "this" because it leaves the reader to guess what the writer means by "this". However, I've noticed that "so" often serves the same purpose.

For example, "in so doing/in doing so" is pretty much the same as "in doing this/by doing this".

Is using so always preferable to this in transitions like these? Or does it not matter?

Thanks.
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Type: Question • Score: 0 • Views: 588 • Replies: 5
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Blickers
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2017 12:42 am
@perennialloner,
Not sure I've ever seen the rule about never using "this". For instance, there is nothing wrong with the following sentence about maintaining proper air pressure in your car's tires:

Quote:
By doing this, you both maximize passenger safety and increase gasoline mileage.
perennialloner
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2017 01:41 am
@Blickers,
I don't think it's a rule, just a stylistic preference. I wondered if using it was like using "get"--frowned upon. Guess not. Thank you for your input.
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layman
 
  0  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2017 04:38 am
@perennialloner,
perennialloner wrote:

I've been told that it's bad to start sentences with "this" or refer to ideas as "this" because it leaves the reader to guess what the writer means by "this".


I don't think starting a sentence with "this" is bad at all. But there is a reason why you have been told that, I suppose. You always need to be mindful that "this" may not have a clear referent, and, if not, use something else.

It's often quite clear from the context what "this" refers to. At times, you may want to use "this" as a summary of several sentences without repeating them all. Or "all this," or "such considerations," "these things," etc.
perennialloner
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2017 05:38 pm
@layman,
Thanks to both of y'all.
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dalehileman
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2017 05:45 pm
@perennialloner,
Peren, I've als=ways used both liberally, but usu with ref to the foregoing sentence
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