Use short, simple words
Vocabulary choice is an important part of communicating clearly. While there is no problem with being expressive, most federal writing has no place for literary flair. People do not curl up in front of the fire with a nice federal regulation to have a relaxing read.
Federal government writing is often stodgy, full of long, dry legalisms and other jargon. Federal writing is no exception. H.W. Fowler summed up these recommendations for making word choices in his influential book, The King's English, first published in 1906. He encouraged writers to be more simple and direct in their style (quoted in Kimble, 2006).
- Prefer the familiar word to the far-fetched.
- Prefer the concrete word to the abstraction.
- Prefer the single word to the circumlocution.
- Prefer the short word to the long.
- Prefer the Saxon word to the Romance word.
There is no escaping the fact that it is considered very important to note that a number of various available applicable studies ipso facto have generally identified the fact that additional appropriate nocturnal employment could usually keep juvenile adolescents off thoroughfares during the night hours, including but not limited to the time prior to midnight on weeknights and/or 2 a.m. on weekends.And the original, using stronger, simpler words:
More night jobs would keep youths off the streets.
In making your word choices, pick the familiar or frequently used word over the unusual or obscure. There are many lists of complex words and suggested substitutes, for example www.plainlanguage.gov/howto/wordsuggestions/simplewords.cfm. See also the lists in Kimble (2006).
- Kimble, Joseph, Lifting the Fog of Legalese, 2006, Carolina Academic Press, Durham, NC, pp. 11, 165-174.
- McGinty, Kathy, Nine Easy Steps to Longer Sentences, www.plainlanguage.gov/examples/humor/9easysteps.cfm