Pos   Mon May 14, 2007 8:57 am GMT
"Write as you talk" is ambiguous, while "write like you talk" is not.

Do you agree?

BTW, is it correct to place a comma before "while" there?
Guest   Mon May 14, 2007 9:57 am GMT
Yes, I agree.

> BTW, is it correct to place a comma before "while" there?

I think this case might be a matter of personal style, but I'm inclined to put it there. The general trend seems to be that Americans use more punctuation than the British do, so a Brit might omit it.

- Kef
David B   Mon May 14, 2007 5:27 pm GMT
'like' has the same meaning whether used as a preposition or a conjunction. ie it expresses similarity/difference:

(don't) act like me
(don't) act like I do

(some people think 'like' should not be used as a conjunction)

single* 'as' used as a conjunction does not mean the same as single 'as' used as a preposition:

'as' as a conjunction expresses similarity (the same as 'like' above):

act as I do

(some people think 'as' is what should be used instead of 'like' when a conjunction is used)

single 'as' as a preposition expresses function or role

she used the metal bar as a hammer
she works as a doctor

*In combinations: (not), not, 'as' is used as a preposition expressing similarity/difference

(not) as confused as him
not so confused as him

(some people think that 'as' here should be followed by a subject and verb making it a conjunction)

(not) as confused as he is
not so confused as he is

In two clause sentences the comma is used when the dependent clause (ie the one starting with the conjuntion is put first:

"While write as you talk" is ambiguous, "write like you talk" is not.
When I arrived, they were arguing

no comma:
"Write as you talk" is ambiguous while "write like you talk" is not.
They were arguing when I arrived
furrykef   Mon May 14, 2007 5:53 pm GMT
I'm inclined to put a comma before "while" when it functions the same as "whereas", but not in other cases. (I think I would put a comma before "whereas" in all cases, at least in careful writing.) The reason is that it separates (indeed, contrasts) two distinct thoughts, which other uses of "while" don't do ("We had lunch while we were at the beach" is a single thought). I think it's a matter of personal preference.

- Kef