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Short words

Short and familiar words make your texts easier to read. 

(English is derived from Anglo-Saxon, a Germanic language. Words derived from Latin or French tend to be longer and often more formal.) 

Your choice of words will, however, depend on the type of text, the tone and the level of formality.


1.       We will implement the project next month. (‘implement’ is a newish word with multiple possible meanings.)

Depending on intended meaning, this sentence could be:

We will start / complete / carry out the project next month.

2.       The department elaborated a plan. (‘elaborate’ is a word that has a slightly different meaning and usage in English.  You elaborate on a point or give further details.)

The department drew up a plan.

3.       The meeting will commence at 10 a.m.  (‘commence’ exists in English, but is not often used in such an everyday context. 

The meeting will begin / start at 10 a.m.

US Government website with a list of long words and simpler alternatives to try:

Carol Waites (PhD)
For more writing tips, consult my website:
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