One of the easiest things you can do to improve your writing is to stop using unnecessarily long words. They slow the pace of your text and can sound old-fashioned and pompous. The same is true of wordy phrases.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t use long words at all. Where there’s no sensible short alternative, then it’s fine to use a long word if your readers will understand it. But don’t use a long word where a short word would work just as well.
“Don’t use a long word where a short word would work just as well.”
At the top of my blacklist of long words are utilise, numerous, approximately and necessitate. Do these words often appear in your texts? If so, try replacing them with use, many, about and require. The short words will give your writing pace and punch while creating a relaxed, confident tone.
If you feel resistant to making this simple change, ask yourself why. Perhaps, like many people, you believe that using long words makes you appear professional and educated.
“At the top of my blacklist of long words are utilise, numerous, approximately and necessitate.”
It’s certainly true that business writing is often peppered with long words, management-speak and jargon. But that doesn’t mean it’s good practice to use these words. Rather it shows that many people in business are not very skilled writers.
If you’re still not convinced, just look at my headline. Impressed? Of course you aren’t. Similarly, you won’t impress anyone by using unnecessarily long words.