3/26/2008

How can I persuade you to follow this advice?

Yahoo!

Mr. Rewrite loves that site in so many ways, especially for the free fantasy sports. He won his Yahoo! fantasy baseball league last year, by the way. But here's the reason he loves Yahoo! today: Its news headlines are a gift that keeps giving.

Today's topic, straight from the front page of www.yahoo.com: convince vs. persuade. If you want to better yourself quickly and move on to TMZ.com, just memorize this:

convince ... that or of / persuade ... to

There's one gray area we should discuss, but keep that straight (it's Associated Press style) and you've mastered a high-end usage point that will wow friends and colleagues. Now off to celebrity videos!

For the rest of you, Mr. Rewrite hopes this is a convincing explanation of how it works:

When you convince, you succeed in getting someone to buy into a point of view. Someone can convinced of a point of view without taking action.

Persuade takes that idea a step further by prompting action. The "to" in "persuade ... to" implies action.

Bryan A. Garner (cue angelic chorus) is cool with persuade that, but he notes that it's used mostly in legal contexts.

Here are some examples of those paid to know better botching convince/persuade:

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