Wednesday, May 05, 2021

As a result, as a consequence, in consequence: Native-speaker intution and corpus results

A student wrote "as a consequence" in two texts for the "111 Words a Day" class, and I commented that, to my ear, the usual phrase is "as a result", with the alternative "in consequence". But then I decided to check my "ear" against usage: the Corpus of Contemporary American English contains 3515 cases of "as a consequence", 47,363 cases of "as a result", and 732 cases of "in consequence". So my "ear" is partly right: "as a result" is the much more common phrase. But it's also wrong: "as a consequence" outnumbers "in consequence." Still, even if my native-speaker intuition is not 100% reliable, it does provide a testable hypothesis. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 5 May 2021)

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