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Technical Writers’ Companion

People allow things, but things enable people.

Use allow when you mean permit or consent to. Also use allow when you mean to allocate a certain amount.

Use enable when you mean provide the means or power, or make something possible or easy. In this case, it’s often better to use can or let.


You’re allowed to make one backup copy of the program.


The trial version of the program allows you to create only documents that have 3 pages or less.


Leaving some space in the drum allows for expansion of the liquid when the liquid is hot.


This program allows you to hack your competitor’s web site.


This program enables you to hack your competitor’s web site.


With this program, you can hack your competitor’s web site.

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