Why and how to replace musty PR jargon with clear, precise language

Fluff, puffery and linguistic sleight of hand could be undermining your credibility—and harming your career. Watch for these weasel words and phrases that could come back to bite you.

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As language evolves, grotesque creatures can take shape.

We have PR, marketing and advertising to thank for many euphemisms that have become ubiquitous.

A few examples:

It’s better to speak plainly.

PR deserves a dictionary of its own. Some terms and phrases used in our business might seem harmless, but even small misunderstandings (or linguistic sleights of hand) can ruin trust and erode credibility.

Especially in the situations listed below, beware of using duplicitous or misleading PR language:

Of course, loose language and imprecise terminology can get a communicator into trouble in many ways. Weasel words are ubiquitous in press releases and in responses to reporters’ questions. Words and phrases such as “perhaps,” “believed to be,” “possibly,” and “our research shows” demonstrate a lack of provable facts.

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