Better writing, cutting out the crap

We’re all guilty of using crummy words in documents, for us it usually consists of business/industry speak. It’s lazy and also can confuse meaning. So we’re spiritually joining the Campaign for Plain English as they try to rid the world from gobbledygook, jargon and misleading frappery. Note: the actual cost to join is £4,000.

It starts by using common and informal versions of words so use ‘buy’ instead of ‘purchase’, ‘help’ instead of ‘assist’, ‘about’ instead of ‘approximately’ and ‘like’ instead of ‘such as’.

Next up we’ve got a (pragmatic) banned words and phrase list.

agenda, advancing, combating, commit/pledge, countering, dialogue, disincentivise, empower, facilitate, focusing, foster, impact (as a verb), initiate, key, liaise, overarching, robust, slimming down, streamline, strengthening, tackling, transforming, utilise

Next! Avoid metaphors completely. For example:

  • drive (you can only drive vehicles; not schemes or people)
  • drive out (unless it is cattle)
  • going forward (unlikely we are giving travel directions)
  • in order to (superfluous – don’t use it)
  • ring fencing