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The new technology divided the world - or at least the part that could pay - in two: those who [blah blah blah] and those who [blah blah blah].

I would use "or at least those who could pay" but I refer to people using the word "those" in the second part of the sentence, so it would seem repetitive. But I don't think "part" is quite right - or is it just me?

  • Paying customers. – Drew Aug 18 '14 at 2:51
  • Just repeat "the world", and use a demonstrative: -- or at least that part of the world that could pay -- – John Lawler Aug 18 '14 at 3:05
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    or at least the segment that could pay – R Sahu Aug 18 '14 at 3:23
  • I figured out the reason I don't like "part" is because "part of the world" suggests a particular physical region, like Europe. I like "segment" because it's sufficiently abstract. – Tyler Aug 18 '14 at 4:25
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Depends on the context of the sentence. I'm thinking that there are aggressive approaches, like:

The new technology split the world in two, at least among punters with money.

Or, the technically correct but painful to read approach, like:

The new technology divided those who could afford it into two groups.

Or, the writer could simply ignore the cost issue, as in:

The new technology appealed to two different kinds of people.

Personally, I don't think having two incidences of "those" is nearly as annoying as having both an m-dash and a colon in the same sentence. My advice: when "thesaurus" comes to mind, think "rewrite."

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  • I think I like the idea of simply ignoring the cost issue, since it's alluded to (albeit less directly) later in the text. I'm going with "When the technology hit the market a few decades ago, two groups of people emerged: those who..." – Tyler Aug 18 '14 at 4:47
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I suspect what's bothering you may be that the world itself cannot pay and is not divided; rather, the people pay and are divided. It's fine to fudge it a bit, but if you aren't happy, try this:

The new technology divided the people of the world - or at least the people who could pay - in two: those who [slathered their toast with oil paints] and those who [had better things to do with their time and art supplies].

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