What do you think is the difference between:

Achieve better work/life balance


Achieve a better work/life balance

The discussion may be academic, but I know what my preference is, and I need to be able to defend it.

  • 9
    What do you think the difference is? And how would you defend that position?
    – Andrew Leach
    Aug 3, 2012 at 15:39
  • I was somewhat deliciously vague for a reason. This phrase is in a professional body of work, specifically a reference architecture. I make the distinction between the two as the first is an ongoing endeavor and the second is a goal.
    – Robert S.
    Aug 3, 2012 at 22:08

2 Answers 2


I'd posit that the second is more readable, since it gives the reader the early hint: "Achieve a better... {something}" The reader already knows it will be a singular thing that is better.

Meanwhile, the first example requires the reader to read the entire phrase, then calculate/ponder until the meaning becomes clear: "Achieve better work.." --not yet clear-- "..better work/life.." --still calculating the meaning-- .."balance." --now recalculate the whole phrase-- and then the meaning appears.

Obviously not a tremendous difference, but a difference nonetheless.

  • Being both readable and understandable as you said, the second one is less "cro-magnon". The addition of A is an article and it help to connect words in sentences so they are clearer. The clearer the better, not to be redundant, but in this case, helps to understand faster.
    – Billeeb
    Aug 3, 2012 at 20:14

Both are readily understandable but my preference is for the inclusion of 'a.' You are saying "achieve a better balance between work and life" (presumably work as a proportion of life!)

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