This may not sound like a writing tool, but it’s a great place to check the standard British spelling and formatting of words and phrases. If you’re not sure whether it’s ‘prime minister’, ‘prime-minister’ or ‘primeminister’, take a look at BBC News to see how they’re formatting it (the answer is ‘prime minister’).
If you want to make your writing easy to read, start by cutting out any unnecessary long words or jargon. It’ll be clearer and sharper without them.
Here are a couple of tips to get you started:
1.) Never use a longer word when a shorter one will do.
It can be tempting to throw in a few impressive words to add a sense of authority:
Councillor Jeremy Bucket will commence his mayoralty on 1 January, 2018. He would like to extend his gratitude to the electorate.
Reading this kind of thing is hard work because we don’t use these words in normal conversation. It comes across as unfriendly, exclusive and even a bit silly.
We can fix this by replacing the long words with short ones:
Councillor Jeremy Bucket will start his term as mayor on 1 January, 2018. He would like to thank everyone who voted.
2.) Use definitions to explain specialist terms
Sometimes jargon is necessary. If you need to use a specialist word that your readers won’t be familiar with, add a definition to explain what it means. It’s also always a good idea to explain any acronyms:
At Wafflington Sustainable Extensions, we choose materials such as flyash concrete (a more eco-friendly form of concrete) and SIPs (structural insulating panels).
Ready to get jargon-busting? Next week, on the blog we’ll be trying this strategy out on some worked examples. See you then.