What’s the difference between these two constructions?
The writing class developed skills such as critical thinking, brainstorming strategies, and ways to overcome writer’s block.
The writing class developed such skills as critical thinking, brainstorming strategies, and ways to overcome writer’s block.
In this particular context there is no significant difference, but in other contexts there may be.
X such as A,B,C… has two significantly different uses. The list A, B, C may be either
- restrictive: a qualification of X which may not omitted, as if to say only or specifically those X which are like A, B, C
I prefer playwrights such as Ibsen, Shaw and Brecht to playwrights such as Wilde and Maetrlinck.
non-restrictive: an incidental illustration of X, as if to say for example A,B,C. When this use is intended, such as A, B, C is set off with commas or parentheses.
I prefer politically conscious playwrights ，such as Ibsen, Shaw and Brecht ，to mere
aesthetes ，such as Wilde and Maeterlinck.
Such X as A, B, C…, however “embraces” the X modified within the construction, and thus cannot be used non-restrictively.
OKI prefer such playwrights as Ibsen, Shaw and Brecht to such playwrights as Wilde and Maetrlinck.
✲ I prefer such politically conscious playwrights ，as Ibsen, Shaw and Brecht ，to such mere
aesthetes ，as Wilde and Maeterlinck.
Note that such can act as a pronoun, so you may if you like drop the second instance of X:
OKI prefer such playwrights as Ibsen, Shaw and Brecht to such Ø as Wilde and Maetrlinck.
In my own writing I mark the restrictive/non-restrictive distinction a little more systematically by using X such as A, B, C… only non-restrictively; but I doubt anybody notices, and you are by no means bound to follow my example.
✲ marks an utterance as unacceptable
Ø marks the point at which a term has been deleted