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Similarly to the previous version of this product, this version contains the same feature and .... (a long description of the product)

Is the usage of "similarly to" in the sentence beginning correct? Or is there any better alternative? How would English people say this sentence in formal language?

5 Answers 5

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This is a typical awkward wording I see in Japanese-English translation.

If you want to use an adverbial phrase, you need something like the following:

As with the previous version of the product, this version also contains feature XXX

I suggest something like:

As with

As in

As was (is) the case with

A related awkward structure is the following:

Similar to John, Bob lives in Tokyo.

Literally, this says only that Bob is similar to John and that Bob lives in Tokyo, but nothing about where John lives. If both live in Tokyo, then:

Bob lives in Tokyo, as does John.

Or something along those lines

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  • Thanks, this is what I was looking for, one additional question: Is the phrase "As with the previous version of the product" also acceptable in formal language?
    – Riko
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 12:22
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I'm surprised no one's mentioned "Like...", as in "Like the previous version of the product..."

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"Similarly to" (in a similar way to) at the beginning of a sentence is grammatically correct. Because many Americans generally don't use adverbs correctly, beginning a sentence with one such as this would certainly sound quite odd. People tend to go with words that are frequently used. Let's start re-educating people by using English correctly again. Don't forget that an adverb is "how" and action is performed, and an adjective describes a noun. As an English person, I prefer English English :)

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You may say:

This version of the product contains the same features as the previous one. or

This version of the product has features similar to the previous one

Similarly to sounds a bit unusual in the construction you suggest:

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  • What if you wanted to keep the information that something is going to be similar, or analogous to something already mentioned, in the beginning of the sentence?
    – Riko
    Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 23:12
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    @Riko Then you start with similar to, rather than similarly to. I think this is because similarly is an adverb. You might be trying to explain how the two items contain the same thing, but I think you are trying to demonstrate that the two items are similar. Two people might have similar speech, but they talk similarly.
    – Mike
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 3:10
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Similarly to my other replies, I will answer your question with a 'yes', cite a reference, and give my opinion.

The use of 'similarly' just sounds odd, and I'd be tempted to write 'Similar to the previous version of this product...' because the purpose of your language is to sell merchandise, not confuse potential buyers with your heteroclitical distraction.

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