How do the following two sentences differ in meaning?

  1. Ensure the formatting of the text

  2. Ensure the format of the text

  • The second is unnatural. 'Formatting' is clearly understood as typesetting etc. The second? No idea what it means. – curiousdannii Sep 26 '14 at 8:28

Ensure the formatting of the text

This indicates that the speaker wants the listener to make sure that he formats the text. But it doesn't say or imply anything more about how it must be done. Also, formatting is the present participle form of format.

Ensure the format of the text (to be like something)

Rephrase it as:

Ensure the text's format

The implication becomes more clear. There must be some standard of rule for formatting that text and if you were to complete that sentence with like this or as how we discussed in the meeting it answers the question how should I format this text?

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  • Thank you very much, it explains a lot... It's crystal clear for me now – Sumalatha Sep 28 '14 at 13:56

According to 'www.wordwebonline.com' both terms can be used as nouns and have the same meaning:


  • Noun: format 'for,mat The organization of information according to preset specifications (usually for computer processing)
  • formatting, data format, data formatting.

In your sentences format and formatting are used as nouns so the meaning is the same. Actually the first sentence may hint at the process of formatting so it probably needs more specification to avoid misunderstanding.

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  • context here is manager asking subordinate following, In the meantime, can you get the team to have a look at the site and ensure the formatting of the text and templates are correct. – Sumalatha Sep 26 '14 at 7:47

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