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I found this title sentence in a book. However, I worry that grammatically speaking, it may be comparing TV and students, because "students" is the subject.

In order to eliminate any potential confusion, I would write: Unlike the TV, a computer can be used by students for a variety of functions. Now "a computer" is the subject. Do you think my revision is a better construction?

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    Maybe Unlike the TV, the computer can ... to follow the styling? Dec 28 '21 at 19:52
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Yes, your suggested revision is much better. The original does seem to be comparing the students, not the computer, to the TV, Then, since that makes no sense (unless this is some sort of SF story), the reader has to rethink and realize the correct meaning, but this may leave the reader distracted. The revision has none of those problrms.

It might be better yet to put the positive side of the comparison first, as in:

A computer can be used by students for a variety of functions, while a TV cannot.

However if the previous text had been discussing TVs and their use, this would not be as good. As so often, context matters a lot.

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  • Does anyone except me ever say 'television' any more? Dec 28 '21 at 17:09
  • @MichaelWokeHarvey - Not me. I don't call it a TV either, except in writing. I call it a telly, & probably have done for 50 years or more. Dec 28 '21 at 17:50
  • @Michael Woke Harvey I often refer to the medium as television, although i also use "TV" quite a lot. Dec 28 '21 at 17:54
  • @gonefishin'again. - when I was first interested in electronics, in the mid 1960s, pre-war British books and magazines talked about 'televisors'. Dec 28 '21 at 18:14
  • @MichaelWokeHarvey - I'm probably a generation younger than that - always been telly since we first had one, sometime mid 60s. Dec 28 '21 at 18:18

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