This problem sentence is from the sports section of today's newspaper. Background: the two men's semifinals of the U.S. open were played yesterday. First was Djokovic vs. Wawrinka, and then came Nadal vs. Gasquet. Djokovic (a Serb) won a tough, marathon match, whereas Nadal won fairly easily.
So here is the sentence I am complaining about:
"While the Serb labored, Nadal swept past Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-2."
When I first read this sentence, I thought, "Hey, these matches were consecutive, not concurrent!" I had read the word "while" to mean "at the same time as" rather than "although."
Some publishers for whom I edit have a rule that I must change every "while" to "although" (unless the meaning is "at the same time as") and every "since" to "because" (unless "since" is used in a time sense). I oblige them because it is possible to misread the meanings of these words, as happened with the tennis sentence. If we change "while" to "although" here, the sentence no longer is ambiguous:
"Although the Serb labored, Nadal swept past Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-2."
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