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Use short, common words

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Don’t show off your vocabulary. Reading infrequently used words requires more mental work than reading common words. This slows down readers and makes your text hard to understand.

Keep it simple and stupid (the KISS principle).

Use words that are common and short. Use uncommon and long words only if there is no simpler alternative.

Bear in mind readers who speak the document’s language only as a second language.

Typical examples of words that you should replace with simpler alternatives are nouns with 3 or more syllables and foreign words.

Instead of the complex term …

use the simple form …

alphabetical character

letter

attempt

try

capability

ability

condition

state

determination

choice

employ

use

indicate

show, tell, say

indication

sign

inspect

check

location

site, place

modify

change

preserve

keep

require

need

terminate

end

transmit

send

utilization

use

For more examples, see Blacklist: Overblown words.

 

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