Oiling the Gears – Tutorial No. 2

Thank you for visiting my business writing blog.

The ‘FROM … TO’ case is a pair of linked phrases expressing movement in space or time. When you find examples in your business writing, test them like this:

1. Delete all but the first word after ‘FROM’.

2. Delete all but the first word after ‘TO’.

3. Read aloud what’s left of the sentence, to hear if it goes “clunk”.

4. Edit both phrases so that the words after ‘FROM’ are grammatically and syntactically identical to the words after ‘TO’.

Here’s an example:

Our clients range from the smallest family-owned startups to multinationals.

Now delete all but the first word after ‘from’ and all but the first word after ‘to’:

Our clients range from the … to multinationals …

It doesn’t sound right; in fact it doesn’t even make sense. For this example we’ll edit the ‘TO’ phrase so that it has the same grammar and syntax as the ‘FROM’ phrase:

Our clients range from the smallest family-owned startups                                                   to the biggest publicly-held multinationals.

You can see — more importantly, you can HEAR — how the sentence glides along when both halves of the ‘FROM … TO’ pair are followed by phrases with the same types of words (the same ‘parts of speech’), in the same order (the same syntax).

Watch the video tutorial for a closer look at this. And thanks again for visiting.

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About Copymentor

Australian and US copywriter, creative director and author
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