31 terms that will complicate your writing

Often, using technical terms, jargon and just plain big words muddles your message.

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?

[FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 punctuation essentials]

Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor and a regular contributor to PR Daily.com. Read more of her work at impertinentremarks.com.

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