Submitted by Make Your English Work on June 4, 2012

in other words

It seems to be common for writers to use “in other words” in their writing, which seems to be mostly done as a rhetorical technique. I can see no reason to use this phrase in writing, except perhaps in the case of explaining complex technical information or visual content to a general audience. This is a pet peeve of mine but others seem to have no problem with it. I feel that if something can be said more effectively in other words, those words should be used instead of the less effective ones. Your thoughts on the matter?


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"In other words" is a perfectly valid transition used to introduce a reformulation of something previously stated, either to specify or clarify. As a rhetorical tool it can be useful to restate a point "in other words" in order to address a different audience or a different detail.

"In other words" does *not* mean "in better words"!

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