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I read this sentence in a book.

However, it does not solve specific problems relating to a business or a profession.

I often use related to instead of relating to. Is there any difference?

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

These two words are close, and in most cases, they are interchangeable.

However, I think there is a subtle difference between the two, one I can't readily support with a good source at the moment.

"Related to" only means that there is some kind of connection while "relating to" indicates something that is about the topic.

For instance, if I asked for websites relating to english.stackexchange.com, I might expect to get meta.english.stackexchange.com, maybe some news articles that cover the site, and a blog entry by a founder.

If I asked for websites related to english.stackexchange.com, I would expect to receive those same sites listed above, but I would also expect to see other SE network websites, other English-learner websites, and perhaps other Q&A type sites.

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Hmmm! +1 anyway –  user21032 May 14 '12 at 21:30
    
'Hmmm' indeed. I started by examining my own thoughts on the difference and this is what I came up with. Attempting to find a source confirmed that many others hold roughly the same idea about the difference between the two, but I couldn't find an academic source. Now both words sound silly and meaningless to me, so I need to take a break. Hopefully someone can find a source to confirm my intuition or disabuse me of the false distinction. –  Charles W May 14 '12 at 21:44
    
I think you're right. "Relating to", I think, refers to an attribute of the thing itself, while "related to" refers to similar things. –  Kaiser Octavius May 15 '12 at 2:37
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In some cases there may be a slight difference between them.

Relating to:"about or concerning."

The less tangible effects of the Senate bill will come from the provisions relating to jobs and social services for immigrants. (LDOCE)

The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees is the key legal document in defining who is a refugee, their rights and the legal obligations of states. http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49da0e466.html

Related to: connected with

Police say a suspect related to the call for assistance fled the apartment and was located by police. (boston dot com)

cf. reviews of non-technical books relating to Probability http://www.stat.berkeley.edu/~aldous/157/books.html

any good books related to The Hunger Games? http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100626161250AASraxZ

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