31 ways to complicate your writing

Want to confuse your readers or have them stumble over unfamiliar and complex terms? If you don’t want them to understand a word of your message, try using the phrases in the right column. After all, why choose simple words when complex words can make you sound smarter?

(Forgive the sarcasm, but years spent editing articles written by attorneys, whose writing is purposefully vague, and physicians, whose writing is full of jargon, has made me cross.)

Instead of: Use:
 after or later  subsequently
 arms  upper extremities
 aware  cognizant
 count  enumerate
 end  terminate
 equal  commensurate
 fix  remediate
 harmful  deleterious
 help or lead  facilitate
 helpful  advantageous
 improve  ameliorate
 issue  promulgate
 join  consolidate
 learn  ascertain
 legs  lower extremities
 limits  parameters
 must  incumbent upon
 next to  adjacent
 part  component
 pay or payment  remuneration
 quick  expeditious
 read  peruse
 send  disseminate
 skills  proficiencies
 so  consequently
 start  implement
 talk  dialogue
 try  endeavor
 use  utilize
 use  leverage
 wrong  erroneous

Does it ever seem like people go out of their way to use unclear language? PR Daily readers, which unfamiliar or complex terms make you cranky?


This article was originally published on Ragan Communication’s PR Daily.



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