The words following and followed might sound similar, but they can have a major impact on how you present information. Let’s start with two examples:
- Mrs Sood mentioned a headache in the morning followed by nausea and aversion to bright lights in the evening.
- Mrs Sood mentioned nausea and aversion to bright lights in the evening following a morning headache.
While the events in these two sentences might be the same, the link between them changes the timeline of events. Let’s look at why.
Writing to a timeline
If we call the headache A and nausea and aversion to bright lights B then we can see that in the first sentence A is first (in the morning) and B is second (in the evening).
If we use the same letters for the second sentence, we can see that B is written first and A second, but the order of events in time is still the same because of the word following. A happened first (in the morning) and B happened second (in the evening).
When we use followed by the event before the link happens first chronologically and is written first. The event after the link happens second chronologically and is written second. But, when we use following, the event before the link happens second chronologically but is written first and the event after the link happens first chronologically but is written second.
Take the quiz below
Use following or followed by to complete these sentences:
She was admitted to hospital _______ a fall.
He will undergo an MRI scan at 10:00 ________ a chest x-ray at 15:00.
When you’re done with this quiz, head over to the OET Preparation Portal for more resources. You’ll find informative guides and comprehensive online courses to work through!