Website Writing Guide

Grammar and spelling

Tricky words and phrases

All writers should choose their words carefully.

Avoid words and phrases website users will not understand, that have lost impact due to overuse or are unnecessary.

Jargon and clichés

Unnecessary words and phrases

 

Jargon and clichés

Large organisations are awash with jargon, acronyms and corporate titles that are rarely understood by the target audiences. Words and phrases to be wary of include:

  • synergy
  • value added
  • seamless integration
  • to take offline
  • strategic framework
  • customer interface or customer facing
  • enhanced
  • committed
  • accessing services
  • going forward
  • ICT.

Many of these have lost their meaning through overuse and indiscriminate use – they have become clichés.

Contact us with your suggestions and examples to add to this list.

Call things by their generic names rather than their bureaucratic or corporate names. Where jargon and acronyms are used make sure they are explained – do not assume that the public knows them.

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Unnecessary words and phrases

There are many words and phrases that are used by writers to add meaning to a sentence but which only serve to make the text wordy and awkward. They are often used in a mistaken attempt to add emphasis or to pad-out content that the writer feels is too thin. This usually result in poor expression.

Here is a list of redundant or unnecessary words and phrases to avoid:

Word or phrase

Preferred form or treatment

Comment

basically, essentially, totally

avoid

most sentences improve without them

Both

Eg “Records are important both for their content and as evidence of communications, decisions and actions.” naa.gov.au

avoid

considered to be

considered

the ‘to be’ is nearly always redundant

due to the fact that

due to  or because

each and every

one or the other

he/she

he or she  or  they

avoid ‘/’ to indicate choice

and also

avoid

this phrase is often redundant

and/or

one or the other

avoid using  ‘/’

as to whether

whether

very, really, quite 

avoid

most sentences improve without them

should of, could of

should have, could have

drop the ‘of’

got

have

 ‘have’ will do in most cases

in terms of

avoid

necessitate

avoid

on account of

because

‘firstly’, ‘secondly’, ‘thirdly’

first, second, third

consider using a numbered list

plus (as a conjunction)

avoid

it is too informal

point in time

in time

the ‘point’ is redundant

kind of or sort of

avoid

too informal

lots or lots of

many or much or a lot of

just

use sparingly

nature (as an adverb)

avoid

instead of ‘organisations of a corrupt nature’ use ‘corrupt organisations’

literally

avoid

only use where the precise meaning of the word is intended

utilise

use

will suffice in most cases

so as to

to

the reason this occurred is because…

this occurred because

 

Contact us with your suggestions and examples to add to this list.

 

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