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What do you think is the difference between:

Achieve better work/life balance


Achieve a better work/life balance

The discussion may be academic, but I know what my preference is, and I need to be able to defend it.

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What do you think the difference is? And how would you defend that position? – Andrew Leach Aug 3 '12 at 15:39
I was somewhat deliciously vague for a reason. This phrase is in a professional body of work, specifically a reference architecture. I make the distinction between the two as the first is an ongoing endeavor and the second is a goal. – Robert S. Aug 3 '12 at 22:08

I'd posit that the second is more readable, since it gives the reader the early hint: "Achieve a better... {something}" The reader already knows it will be a singular thing that is better.

Meanwhile, the first example requires the reader to read the entire phrase, then calculate/ponder until the meaning becomes clear: "Achieve better work.." --not yet clear-- "..better work/life.." --still calculating the meaning-- .."balance." --now recalculate the whole phrase-- and then the meaning appears.

Obviously not a tremendous difference, but a difference nonetheless.

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Being both readable and understandable as you said, the second one is less "cro-magnon". The addition of A is an article and it help to connect words in sentences so they are clearer. The clearer the better, not to be redundant, but in this case, helps to understand faster. – Billeeb Aug 3 '12 at 20:14

Both are readily understandable but my preference is for the inclusion of 'a.' You are saying "achieve a better balance between work and life" (presumably work as a proportion of life!)

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