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Is "this way" used correctly in the following? Or should "That way" be used instead? What's the difference?

If you don't know how to ask John for help, just buy him a beer. This way, he'll help you.

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This & that are similar in function, but they introduce a difference wherein this is associated with proximity (being closer), and that is associated with remoteness (being more distant). This distinction applies to spatial, time-related, and conceptual aspects.

I believe in your sample sentence it is used as a determiner.


Since you haven't bought John a beer yet, moreover, we don't know whether you will actually do so or not, the discussed occurrence is a remote possibility (both time-wise, in the future, and both spatially, as you will be somewhere else when/if that happens).

That's why the correct determiner for your example scenario is the one associated with remoteness: that.

If you don't know how to ask John for help, just buy him a beer. That way, he'll help you.

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  • Can "As a result" be used instead of "That way" there?
    – Apollyon
    Commented Jan 21, 2023 at 13:03
  • @Apollyon I'd say no, for two reasons: 1.) "As a result" I feel, implies a sort of guarantee. Like, I know that John will behave that way for sure. But the truth is that noone can guarantee that, John will decide himself. 2.) The context of the sentence is a joke, a banter. The expression "as a result" does not fit well into a joke. It's so much not funny, that it would kill any joke. This expression is rather used in dry, technical contexts.
    – Levente
    Commented Jan 21, 2023 at 13:10

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