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Grammarly’s digital writing assistant helps over 20 million people write more clearly and effectively every day, across multiple platforms and devices.

Can I write like this instead? What is the subtle difference in meaning if I write it like this? Does the information become essential if I write it before the main clause?

Across multiple platforms and devices, Grammarly’s digital writing assistant helps over 20 million people write more clearly and effectively every day.

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There are essentially two parts to the message:

  1. Grammarly helps a lot of people write more clearly and effectively every day
  2. Grammarly operates across multiple platforms and devices

Some will say the last things said will be retained more readily. This is true in longer messages (paragraphs, essays, chapters, books, etc). It is probably a very minimal factor in the two simple messages above.

Some will say that the first thing read in a longer sentence is the thing people will key on for meaning and then kind of blow through the remainder. In that case, the most important thing would be first.

If there is any difference, it is a very weak distinction.

Grammerly probably considers their notional goal is improving writing but technically it is important that they also make people aware of their service functioning on multiple platforms and device types. Both are important to their success so it is arguable that there is no distinction (but equally, I think you could argue that either of the two premises they are communicating could be more important).

You could have written:

Grammarly’s digital writing assistant, operating across multiple platforms and devices, helps over 20 million people write more clearly and effectively every day.

As I often see people read the first few words of a sentence then tune out, I'd say the first thing you want to convey should be presented at the start. But others might say the most important part is the last thing read, assuming the reader reads the entire sentence.

I think from a grammar point of view, there is nothing to suggest and difference of meaning between either versions of the original poster's examples.

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Normally I would say yes, you can write it that way, and it doesn't mean anything different, nor does it infer any part of it is more essential than another.

  • Around the world, Grammarly helps millions of users.
  • Grammarly helps millions of users around the world.

These two examples mean the same.

However, your example includes technical detail - it speaks about users and platforms - so you need to make sure it makes technical sense as well as grammatical sense. Who or what is spread across "platforms" - Grammarly, or the users? If the users are across platforms, then it should be left as it is. Your edit suggests that Grammarly is operating across platforms, which some might argue is not possible - the same product might be coded multiple different ways to work on different platforms, but the software itself does not cross over from one to another. Just a thought.

Also people tend to remember what was said last - so it depends whether you want the 20 million users or the multiple platforms to stick in people's minds.

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  • I thought making the last part appear at the front emphasizes that part.
    – Meraki
    Nov 26, 2019 at 9:06
  • @Meraki That part is debatable I suppose - it depends on how long the statement is. When you give a lot of information all in one sentence you can only hope that your audience retains it all.
    – Astralbee
    Nov 26, 2019 at 9:17

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