Intoxicated by Verbosity

“Don’t use a big word when a minuscule alternative will suffice.”

It’s an old joke, but one that makes an important point: Big words are like fine jewels—you may take them out for special occasions, but they’re not for everyday use.

No matter what you’re writing, you want your words to be read and understood. If your work is weighed down by a multiplicity of multisyllabic loquaciousness, people will stop reading. And those who do slog through are likely to get so fatigued by the effort that they will miss your message.

Here are a few bloated terms and their leaner counterparts:

Individual Person
Individuals People
Due to the fact that Because
Have the capability to Can
In the event that If
Subsequent to After
For the purpose of For
Utilize Use
At the time of When
A majority of Most
In order to To


By Jan Taylor, an Editorial Project Manager with TalentMEDIA Services. You can reach her at

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