"according to" at the beginning or the end of a sentence

Square100

Senior Member
Vietnamese
HCM City hopes to increase per capita housing availability to 16.8 square metres this year from 16.4sq.m last year, according to its Department of Construction.

Source: "City looks to increase resident housing area", Viet Nam News.

Would it be better to put the phrase "according to its Department of Construction" at the beginning of the sentence?

According to its Department of Construction, HCM City hopes to increase per capita housing availability to 16.8 square metres this year from 16.4sq.m last year.

Thank you.
 
  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The phrase can go at the start or the end of the sentence. But in this case, if you put it at the end, it could emphasise the measurements.
    So if you are focusing on HMC City hopes..., it would be better to start with it (or put it after hopes).
     

    Square100

    Senior Member
    Vietnamese
    Thank you.
    How about spoken English? Do we put it at the end of a sentence in spoken English?
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Thank you.
    How about spoken English? Do we put it at the end of a sentence in spoken English?
    From the perspective of my (former) part of the American news media, not usually.

    "According to " is part of what we call "attribution."

    Normally, we put attribution at the beginning of a sentence. It doesn't matter what form it takes.

    At least that's the style we used when writing copy to be read aloud on radio and television.

    That emphasizes that the information or opinion is not that of the speaker, but some other entity.

    Moreover, we use indirect (reported speech) quotes rather than direct quotes.

    There's good reason for this practice.

    If I said "'you're a despicable dog,' according to John Phydeaux," you would be likely to hit me before I even got the attribution out of my mouth.

    On the other hand, If I said, "according to John Phydeaux, you're a dirty dog," you're not as likely to blame me for the comment. :D

    Note that I qualified this as being part of "broadcast style" and do not claim that all native English speakers follow the practice. :)
     
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