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Editing Tip: 'Such As' and 'Including'

Summary

  • ‘Such as’ and ‘including’ offer two ways to mention or introduce examples in writing
  • If offset by commas, the examples are not essential to a sentence
  • Without commas, the examples after ‘such as’ help define the subject (as a restrictive element)

In many manuscripts, it is necessary to provide examples that clarify the subject of a sentence. Often, these examples are preceded by the phrase 'such as' or the word 'including.' The usage of these terms can be confusing, so this tip describes how to properly mention examples in your sentences.

Non-essential examples

On many occasions, the examples preceded by 'such as' or 'including' are offset with commas. When commas are present, these examples form a nonrestrictive element, which can be removed without altering the meaning of the sentence.

  • Many world-renowned athletes, such as Lionel Messi and Michael Phelps, are also among the richest people on Earth.
  • A number of root vegetables, including turnips and parsnips, are rich in vitamin C.

Essential examples

If the examples are required for a complete understanding of the sentence, then they represent a restrictive element and should not be offset with commas. Please note that 'including' is not commonly used to introduce a restrictive element.

  • Proteins such as VieA and CdgJ degrade the second messenger cyclic-di-GMP in Vibrio cholerae.
    In this example, saying "Proteins degrade ... cyclic-di-GMP...." would not convey any useful information.

Other tips

A few other points about 'such as' and 'including':

  • Do not use a colon (:) after one of these terms; they are meant to directly introduce the relevant examples. It is acceptable to use a colon following a phrase such as "including the following:" at the end of a complete statement (independent clause). This proposal lays forth new guidelines for several committees, including the following: the scientific program committee, the steering committee, and the membership committee.
  • 'Such as' or 'including' can also be used elsewhere in the sentence (i.e., not associated with the subject) to provide examples. The street featured several new hybrid vehicles, including a Toyota Prius and a Ford Fusion.
  • Last, the word 'like' can be used interchangeably with the phrase 'such as.' In academic writing, however, 'like' should be avoided both because of ambiguity (confusion with the verb 'to like') and because the term is informal.

We hope that this post has helped you better understand the usage of 'such as' and 'including' in academic writing. Please email us with any comments or questions. Best of luck with your research!

Tags Writing a manuscript Language editing Word choice Clarity in writing Grammar Punctuation

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