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In different sentences, I've found different forms of "the same":

  1. In the same way
  2. The same way
  3. The same

It seems there are thousand and millions of examples of each form is available on the Internet. Is there any different between these three forms. Are one of them more common in today's English. Or are any of them more common in British English and another one in American English?

For example, in the next three sentences:

  1. Yesterday, I talked about its and it’s, two words that sound exactly the same way but...
  2. Yesterday, I talked about its and it’s, two words that sound exactly in the same way but...
  3. Yesterday, I talked about its and it’s, two words that sound exactly the same but...
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In American English, "the same" is most idiomatic.

Yesterday, I talked about its and it’s, two words that sound exactly the same way but...

They sound the same way. The manner in which they perform the act of sounding is the same. Their method of sounding is the same. This construction emphasizes the procedure by introducing the noun 'way' into the sentence.

Yesterday, I talked about its and it’s, two words that sound exactly in the same way but...

"In the same way" emphasizes the mechanics of sounding. Two specific species of insects, for example, might produce sound through mechanically identical processes. "In exactly the same way" is more idiomatic than 'exactly in...'

Yesterday, I talked about its and it’s, two words that sound exactly the same but...

The same in its simplest form. Their sound is identical. This is the most common and generally applicable form. In this sentence, and indeed most situations, I would recommend this construction over the others. In the very specific circumstances that the added nuances of the above constructions are desired, then and only then would I advise their use.

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  • Thank you very much for your thorough answer. In the main article, the sentence was: "sound exactly the same way". – Masoud Jan 15 '15 at 6:36
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    That sentence is grammatically acceptable, but not what I would choose unless I had reason to be emphasizing the 'way' of the sound. If this were a Taoist article, on the other hand, it's all about 'the way' ;) – Coty Johnathan Saxman Jan 15 '15 at 6:42
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Of those three sentences you presented, only

Yesterday, I talked about its and it’s, two words that sound exactly the same...

would be considered as standard (whether in British English or American English).

'The same way' and 'in the same way' are used to compare the manner or method of performing actions or how particular processes take place. They are not used to compare objects.

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