Language Tip 6 (2014-15)

“Albeit” is tricky to use correctly, which is probably why students don’t use it often. Also, dictionaries give “albeit” bad press. Some dicitionaries cautiously label it “formal” or “literary,” while others slander it with “old-fashioned,” “archaic” and “obsolete.”

If “albeit” is no longer used, could someone please inform The Guardian and the New York Times? In other words, it is very much in use, and not just by old people.

Here are some very recent examples from those two newspapers (from a variety of sections, not just the hoity-toity arts pages).

The Guardian

“The rhetoric might sound antiquated but, in a sense, we now take for granted Bebel’s communal kitchens, albeit in private form.”
“In 1967, The Beatles and a BBC executive called Aubrey Singer managed to unite the world, albeit briefly, with the first global satellite broadcast.”
“McGeady created chances for Naismith and Lukaku, albeit both with the same result as his colleagues missed the target, and it was from his corner that Everton doubled their advantage.”

The New York Times
“My survey made me realize that, at heart, I’m a purist — albeit not immune to the appeal of the zanier specimens [of donuts].”
“But, on the plus side, the overall number of women in Congress will rise, albeit at a rate that would get us to equal representation sometime around 2078.”
“And his interwoven story lines, intentionally or not, evoke a piece of jazz, albeit one that’s Buddy Bolden raggedy in places.”

Here are some examples of INCORRECT USAGE:
“We know that – albeit neither of the tests is yet optimal – they are adequate.”*

“According to the author, studying literature is required for education, albeit it is often viewed as unnecessary.”*

…and here are some tips for using it correctly – that is, not as a perfect and simple synonym for “although.”

1) It’s not good style to use albeit as part of a finite clause. To play it safe, use “albeit” where there’s no verb around, e.g.:
“I kept on reading the book, albeit very slowly.”
“The free wifi was, albeit rather slow, a nice touch.”

2) You can also use it with a non-finite verbal form but then make it clear this happens outside the main sentence frame:

“The author claims that, albeit often viewed as unnecessary, studying literature is required for education.”

A good test is that you should always be able to put the part introduced by “albeit” in brackets or separate it from the rest of the sentence with dashes.

(If this explanation isn’t long enough for you, try:

Jason Blake and Monika Kavalir

(Skupno 27 obiskov, današnjih obiskov 1)
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