Tag Archives: Jargon

6 reasons to avoid jargon and corporatespeak

At my local bank this week, signs alerted me that they’re “making changes” to some of their plans and fees. You’d be right to assume that some of those changes are increases. Overdraft protection goes up by $1 per month, and a monthly fee is no longer waived with a minimum balance. Give BMO credit, […]

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Think plain to make complex writing more readable

The Guardian’s Alex Hern forced himself to read all the terms and conditions he encountered in one week. In that time, he collected 146,000 words of legalese in 33 documents. It was, he said, “enough to fill three quarters of Moby Dick, just to explain what I can and can’t do online.” Few of us […]

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Use plain language to be clear

Let’s be clear. Those “Terms and Conditions” we have to “accept” or “agree to” before using new software, phones and other technology are anything but clear. I blame lawyers, who stuff sentences with words to cover every possible situation. The sentences are wordy and repetitive. And the lawyers seem to think shouty all-caps lettering IS […]

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‘Improved experience’? Probably weasel words

Hootsuite has an “improved experience” coming for users. Forgive me for being suspicious (too many years of seeing weasel words in corporate announcements), but I doubt they mean for those of us with free plans. Here’s the message, complete with an odd word choice in the first line; highlighting from the Hemingway app shows most […]

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Don’t let jargon get in the way of trust

You can usually spot jargon at less than 10 paces, but it’s fun to have the option of The De-Jargonizer. Plug in a piece of writing, and this handy tool will highlight the jargony words you might want to replace. A recent report about Toys ’R’ Us executives giving themselves millions of dollars in bonuses […]

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Weasel words still in the spotlight

“There’s a lot of year left,” says Mark Peters, who writes a column called Evasive Maneuvers. But the word “re-accommodate” is already a front-runner for the Euphemism of the Year, he tells Time’s Katy Steinmetz. A euphemism substitutes an inoffensive expression for one that may offend; when done in the spirit of disguising bad news, […]

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Jargon? Doesn’t sound best of breed to me

My colleague Sheila Gregory posted on Facebook that it starts to bug her when a word becomes trendy and is used everywhere. Right now, that word is “myriad.” A few of us chimed in with other overused or jargony words we find annoying. But jargon isn’t just annoying. Jargon is harder to understand, and makes […]

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Resist the initialization of the world (please)

Over the holidays, I was in the store formerly known as Mountain Equipment Co-op. Great name, isn’t it? Without even trying, you can tell it sells outdoor recreation gear and clothing. One of their taglines is “Outside is our place. Canada is our backyard.” Nice. In 2013, the company decided to rebrand itself as “MEC” […]

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How to block the three biggest crimes against plain language

What better day than International Plain Language Day (Oct. 13) to talk about getting rid of jargon and wordiness? Plain Language Day is a way to let people know that plain language doesn’t mean “dumbing down” material or making it too elementary, a worry a client once shared with me. Instead, think of plain language […]

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Lose the legalese to be understood

The plaintive opening drew me in immediately: “Why are many financial news releases and publicly filed documents written so poorly?” In A Plea for Plain English in Financial Documents, Steve Lipin and Adam Rosman make the case for good writing in financial news releases, initial public offerings and other publicly filed documents. Instead of writing […]

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