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General Writing and Grammar Help/Grammar Question: Usage of "Omit" versus "Exclude"

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Question
What is the difference between using "omit" and "exclude"? Example: "There may be relatives who have been excluded from the will altogether."

If I use the word "omitted," does that indicate that the act was intentional? Or, does the use of the word "excluded" indicated that it was intentional?

Answer
Dear Renata:

  What is the difference between using "omit" and "exclude"? Example: "There may be relatives who have been excluded from the will altogether."

If I use the word "omitted," does that indicate that the act was intentional? Or, does the use of the word "excluded" indicated that it was intentional?

*** "Omit" suggests that the leaving out of a person or thing is not intentional.  They are "slips" or "errors."

You are CORRECT about the verb "exclude."  If I choose to exclude a person from my party, I am doing it intentionally.  I do NOT want that person there.

EXAMPLES:

Mary checked her guest list to make sure she did not OMIT anyone.

Jane checked her guest list to find people she intended to EXCLUDE.

*** Renata, you are correct in your questioning about the difference between the two words.  Most people think they mean the same.

Good for you!


Ted Nesbitt

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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