Why Use the Word “Potential?”

Words matter.

The recent post on a DNA discovery used the phrase “Potential DNA Match on My Neill Family” in the title.

DNA matches to someone or it doesn’t. There’s not a “potential” to the match. The “potential” is when the researcher is not yet certain which family the shared match comes through. What’s “potential” is the family of the match, not the match itself.

I probably should have phrased it “Potential Neill Family Match in my DNA Results.”

Never hurts to think about how you phrase things so that your meaning is clear and so that the phrasing clearly reflects your intent. It can happen to any of us.


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