As, Though, Although and While

“As,” “while,” “though” and “although” are contenders to be my least-favorite word in the English language. True, they’re not as offensive a lot of other words you and I can think of. But they cause more than their share of problems for the writers I edit.

Their weakness is also their biggest strength: They let you squeeze more information into a sentence – perhaps more than should be there.

Zander fell screaming to the ground, clutching at his gushing wound, as Kerry’s gun blasted a bullet through Zander’s throat.

I really dislike the organization of that sentence. The “as” clause feels like a cheat. The big event in this sentence was suppose to be that Kerry shot Zander. Yet through the dubious power of “as,” the writer was able to tack it on like an afterthought. Sometimes when I see “as” used this way, it almost comes off like the writer had forgotten to mention the actual events, so in a backpedaling motion he tacks it onto the end of a less-interesting action.

"While," "though," "although" and "as" do the most damage at the head of a sentence.

While not as fuel efficient as a lot of other cars Chevy is rolling out this year, the 2015 Fussy GT offers impressive torque and a zero-to-60 time of about eight seconds.

This is, of course, a legitimate way to structure a sentence. But it leads to abuse. But the way the comma coincides with the reader's need to take a huge gulp of air may not be ideal. In other words, the “while” clause can create a big, long delay before you get to the real point of the sentence.

Plus, “while,” “though” and “although” create contrasts that tend to undermine the main clause:

Though she can’t hit high notes or hit any notes for very long, Baybay is a good singer.

The writer of a sentence like this hasn’t exactly convinced me of Baybay’s talents.

Don’t let this wank stop you from using “though,” “although,” “while” and “as.” Just when you do, stop and consider whether these words are setting you up to write a sentence that is itself wank-worthy.

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