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"Although":

Since I'm usage-blogging, I thought I'd repost my remarks from last year about this, especially now that we have comments enabled. My verdict on "Although": It's perfectly permissible English, but I hate it, to a degree irrationally disproportionate to its (slight) inferiority to "though."

I know reasonable minds may differ, but there it is. "'Though,' not 'although'; 'on,' not 'upon'"; that's my motto (though one that may admit of occasional exceptions as to "upon").

Guest2 (mail):
I think this could fairly be described as a crotchet.
2.28.2006 2:53pm
bornyesterday (mail) (www):
I think although sounds all right. Though sounds too colloquial. Upon does sound too formal though.
2.28.2006 2:55pm
tefta (mail):
Upon reflection, I prefer tho.
2.28.2006 2:58pm
AF:
Can you explain, or link to an explanation, as to why "although" is slightly inferior to "though"? I would have thought they are two different words with slightly different usages, and that neither is superior or inferior to the other.
2.28.2006 3:02pm
bornyesterday (mail) (www):
The only difference is that "though" can also serve as an adverb by placing it after the statement instead of before it:

Conjunction:
"Although he was able to write, ..."
"Though he was able to write, ..."

Adverb:
"He was able to write, though."
2.28.2006 3:05pm
Patterico (mail) (www):
How about "toward" vs. "towards"? Is there ever a reason to prefer the latter?
2.28.2006 3:19pm
bornyesterday (mail) (www):
"Toward" and "towards" seem to be variants of eachother and I don't remember ever knowing that one is more appropriate than the other.

And I hate how looking at words like this makes them go all screwy in my mind.
2.28.2006 3:25pm
tdsj:
In all things, ask Garner first.

He says: "As conjunctions, the words are virtually interchangeable. The only distinction is that although is more formal, though more usual in speech and familiar writing."

Garner says "toward" is preferred in American English, "towards" in British English.

Can we cover split infinitives? How 'bout the proper possessive of "Congress"?
2.28.2006 3:27pm
tdsj:
Bonus from Fowler: he basically agrees with Garner. As conjunctions, "no definite line can be drawn between them, and either is always admissible." MEU at 637.
2.28.2006 3:32pm
bornyesterday (mail) (www):
Just for the record, the AP Stylebook says to use toward not towards.
2.28.2006 3:42pm
Guest2 (mail):
I second what tdsj said about Garner.
2.28.2006 3:44pm
Doug Sundseth (mail):
"How 'bout the proper possessive of "Congress"?"

That depends on the speaker. When spoken by a congressman, that would be, "Everything is ultimately Congress's to dispose."

When spoken by the rest of us, "That's mine, not Congress's."

(To address the linguistic argument: I'd say that "Congress" is a collective noun and thus treated as singular and that singular nouns ending in "s" take "'s" to form the possessive. Sorry; I don't have my references here for cites.)
2.28.2006 3:49pm
raj (mail):
How 'bout the proper possessive of "Congress"?

The proper possessive of "Congress" (as in US Congress) is "Congress's." An apostrophe without the "s" at the end would denote that the possessive of a plurality of Congresses. I suppose that the latter could arise, since "Congress" is also used in the context of rather significantly-sized meetings.

Regarding although and though, I tend to prefer the first at the beginning of a sentence and the latter elsewhere.
2.28.2006 3:55pm
Jeremy Pierce (mail) (www):
They're not equivalent, because even although you can make this sentence sound ok with 'though', it just isn't good English the way it is.
2.28.2006 3:55pm
Dan Simon (www):
Unfortunately, all too many writers choose to neglect, or even disdain, the natural rhythms of the English language. Judicious use of an extra syllable, like the "al" in "although"--or the optional "to" in some infinitives--can open up a space between adjacent accents, and thereby smooth a jarring staccato of text into a lovely, mellifluous stream of prose. Brevity may be the soul of wit, but it isn't always a friend of euphony.
2.28.2006 3:59pm
Bruce:
Always split your infinitives! Unless it's confusing.
2.28.2006 4:06pm
tdsj:
Garner (and others) are clear that the proper possessive of Congress is Congress's.

Garner and others are also clear that split infinitives are not only acceptable, but often necessary to avoid ambiguity.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court hasn't gotten either message.
2.28.2006 4:11pm
Federal Dog:
Is there a difference between "social" and "societal?" The latter makes me go ape.
2.28.2006 4:13pm
Defending the Indefensible:
Dan Simon,

Very nicely written. I know that my writing tends to the more staccato and less like dialogue, but I admire the elegant turn of phrase I can almost hear when read.
2.28.2006 4:16pm
Serenity Now (mail) (www):
Kingsley Amis: "Although is less handy and versatile than though, but may still be preferred in rather more formal situations, especially at the beginning of a sentence of some length."
2.28.2006 4:18pm
Guest #42:
I'm with Dan Simon and Kingsley Amis. "Though" just doesn't sound right at the beginning of a sentence.
2.28.2006 4:34pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Dan is right. Say "Although" aloud, and the stress on the second syllable is an excellent introduction to the following clause, bracketing it off from the contrast that will follow in the main clause ("Although x, y.").

Whereas "Though" won't bear a heavy spoken stress at the beginning of a sentence and thus the stress will fall on the proposition you're trying to make the contrast with.

One should always read aloud any important piece of writing; if it doesn't sound good, it won't read well either.
2.28.2006 7:37pm
ruds (mail):
I had a high school teacher who forbade "due to," preferring "because." This was at least partially due to the common inclination to write "due to the fact that," a five word phrase that can be replaced with a single word.
2.28.2006 7:37pm
rob (mail):
I was thinking along Dan's lines, too; if you think about iambic pentameter, having both though and although to begin a line is quite helpful, and the reason is that cadence matters.
2.28.2006 8:05pm
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
I think "although" is more hesitant, while "though" suggests a strong assertion. Take, for instance this:

"Although this may be an improper forum to bring it up, I have unresolved issues with my mother," vs.

"Though his accusation is technically accurate, my opinion should stand on its own merits."

Substituting "though" in the first sentence, I think, would create a rather awkward conflict between the language and the message.
2.28.2006 8:25pm
Harriet Miers' Law Partner:
I prefer the usage "the Congress," rather than "Congress", as in "When the Congress enacted the law, the President rejoiced."
2.28.2006 8:30pm
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
Although it's slightly off-topic, I was just thinking of my least favorite political phrase: "Trot out."

"Sure, they're just going to trot out the same arguments they used four years ago."

Wow do I hate that phrase.
2.28.2006 8:36pm
Tocqueville:
I remember seeing Eugene post this about although a while back. I disagreed with him then and I still do. I just don't get it.
2.28.2006 8:57pm
ChrisPer (mail):
I don't see it in Strunk &White; it's as you say, a bit irrational to be too bothered. In my view there is a difference in voice, from passive to active, which makes 'Though' better in many situations.

Perhaps we should just 'eschew needless words.'
2.28.2006 9:05pm
Lev:
Are we being....put on...?...by usage blogging?
3.1.2006 2:42am
WB:
"admit of" is awkward too
3.1.2006 10:08am
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
Among or amongst? Anyone?
3.1.2006 3:03pm
Quilltip (mail):
Amongst smacks of tushery and, like whilst, should generally be avoided. That said, amongst may be the more euphonous choice when preceding a word beginning with a vowel.
3.1.2006 3:56pm
Aaron:
How about "albeit" rather than "although", see "Fight Fiecrcely, Harvard!"
3.2.2006 4:47pm