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When it is possible to use short prepositions instead of multi-word prepositions, should I use the shorter one to make the meaning clear?

  • As a consequence of = because of
  • In addition to = besides
  • In the course of = during
  • In order to = to
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    Depending on the context, your alternatives may not always be appropriate direct replacements for your first phrases. E.g. Besides will not always be an appropriate replacement for In addition to; while may sometimes be better than during to mean *In the course of".
    – TrevorD
    Jul 16, 2013 at 11:04

2 Answers 2

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Personally, I favor conciseness of expression, as opposed to circumlocution. The sentence I just formed, for example, could become more concise as follows:

"I favor conciseness over circumlocution."

Both conciseness and circumlocution are forms of expression, so why use the word expression? Personally is not wrong, but I will suffice. Not that we need always to be concise, succinct, and pithy, but expressions such as

"Due to the fact that . . ."

are unnecessarily prolix and can become habitual. Sometimes a simple because will suffice.

The same can be said of your exemplars:

•As a consequence of = because of

•In addition to = besides

•In the course of = during

•In order to = to

As TrevorD and Kristen Ramos point out, there is nothing wrong with being prolix, and in informal situations the extra, unnecessary words can give us time to think of what we want to say next! "Beating around the bush" is perfectly normal in many impromptu, spontaneous conversations. After all, who really stops to count one's words in a casual conversation?

In formal situations, however (as in a speech, for example), wordiness can make an audience weary and can delay the speaker's "getting to the point" expeditiously and efficiently!

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It depends entirely upon the situation. Informal situations will call for the shorter prepostions if it makes sense. In some formal situations, you may need to use the longer or multi-word prepositions as to not sound too informal. As I said, it depends entirely upon the circumstances.

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