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I have a question about some sentence structure:

  1. The finished product deviated from the original design.

Sentence 1 seems a little off, because it directly compares a product to a design. Would the following rewrite:

  1. The design of the finished product deviated from the original design.

be better, because the design of the final product is directly compared to the original design? It is better to compare one apple with another apple, instead of comparing an apple with an orange.

  • Ultimately, a product's design is the way it looks, isn't it? To me it does not sound odd at all and the sentence seems perfectly clear even without much context. – Sander Jun 5 '15 at 19:15
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The first sentence is a common way of phrasing this. There may have only been the one design created, and the changes were made on the fly to come up with the finished product. Or the writer may be relying on the reader to understand the finished product was produced from a design.

In the second sentence, using design twice in one sentence is awkward. A good alternative would be "The design of the finished product deviated from the original," or "The finished design deviated from the original."

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I wouldn't think of the finished product having its own design separate from the original design; there is the design and the product and they vary.

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Depending on the product, there may have been no "final design"; only a series of changes and accommodations made "on the fly". Software often evolves this way.

You could, perhaps say that

  • The configuration of the final product varied from the original design.
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Deviate is the complement of comply. You comply with a set of specifications -- a design, a law, etc. So the first sentence is correct: the product fails to comply with the design it was supposed to comply with. The second sentence in incorrect because a design does not comply with a design and therefore cannot deviate from a design. One design can differ from another design, but a product deviates from a design (but does not differ from it in any meaningful sense).

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