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  • Writer's pictureAmanda George

Plain English (or de-fluffing): helping your reader (not to have a headache)



As my regular clients will tell you, I am a fan of minimal capitalisation and plain English. Why use 30 words when you can use 15? Why capitalise something if you don’t have to? Excessive use of capitals and wordiness make the reader’s job harder. Don't get me wrong, I can waffle with the best of them, which is why it is so important to get someone else to check your writing. Because we naturally spot others' waffle (and errors) more easily than we do our own.


We can talk about capitals another day. Today’s blog looks at some easy ways to cut out the fluff (wordiness) while maintaining your meaning. There is usually more than one way to de-fluff (simplify) a piece of writing, as you will see below. These examples are all inspired by my work with my clients.


· He came to realise –> He realised


· They still remain silent to this day –> They remain silent to this day –> They are still silent


· This data would suggest that it is right –> The data suggests that it is right


· She did it as a means to cut back on emissions –> She did it to reduce emissions


· Our analysis of the data is good –> Our data analysis is good


· It was being done by a large number of people –> It was being done by several people –> Several people were doing it


· In a synergistic manner –> Synergistically


· They display a higher tendency to do this –> They are more likely to do this –> They tend to do this


· This paper contributes to the enhancement of the conference –> This paper enhances the conference


· This oat milk serves to enhance the latte –> This oat milk enhances the latte –> This oat milk makes the latte better


· It helps to increase our confidence –> It boosts our confidence –> It makes us more confident


· It helps to shed light on the phenomenon –> It sheds light on the phenomenon–> It elucidates the phenomenon–> It illuminates the phenomenon –> It clarifies the phenomenon


· This existed at the time of the creation of X –> This existed when X was created


· We have access to Y –> We are able to access Y –> We can access Y


If you can think of another way to refine (de-fluff) any of the above (there are always more), please drop me a line. Sharing is learning.

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