List of plain English words and phrases

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This is a list of plain English words and phrases and the more lengthy, formal words for which they are recommended as replacements in writing guides. The problem word is listed first; the plain English alternative follows.

Plain English (or plain language) is communication in English that emphasizes clarity and brevity, and avoids technical language—particularly relating to official government or business communication. It uses simple, familiar words instead of lengthy, formal words,[1] avoids jargon, prefers positive words to negative words,[2] and prefers strong verbs to be verbs.[3]

A[edit]

B[edit]

  • basis, on a – (omit)[24], or replace "on an X basis" by "X-ly"
  • be advised – (omit)[8]
  • because of the fact that – because, since[25][26]
  • beg – ask[16]
  • belated – late[27]
  • beneficial – helpful, useful[27]
  • bestow – give, award[27]
  • by means of – by, with[8][22]
  • by reason of – because[22]
  • by virtue of – by, under[22]
  • beverage – drink[15]

C[edit]

D[edit]

E[edit]

F[edit]

H[edit]

I[edit]

  • identical – same[8]
  • identify –find, name[8]
  • identify with –agree, understand[52]
  • if and when – use either word; not both[53]
  • immediately – at once[8]
  • impacted – affected,changed[8]
  • implement – carry out, start[54]
  • in accordance with – by, under[8][10][22]
  • in addition – also, besides, too[8]
  • in all likelihood – probably[55]
  • in an effort to – to[8]
  • inasmuch – since[8][22]
  • in a timely manner – on time, promptly[8]
  • in between – between[56]
  • inception – start[8]
  • in connection with – with, about[22]
  • incumbent upon – must[8]
  • indicate – say, state, or show[8][56][15]
  • indication – sign[8]
  • individual – person[57][15]
  • in excess of – more than[10]
  • in favor of – for[22]
  • initial – first[8]
  • initiate – start[8]
  • in lieu of – instead[8]
  • in light of the fact that – because[16][25][26]
  • in many cases – often[26]
  • in order that – for, so[8]
  • in order to – to[8][57][25][22]
  • inquire – ask[15]
  • in regard(s) to – about, concerning, on[8][15]
  • in relation to – about, with, to[8][22]
  • in some instances – sometimes[26]
  • inside of – inside[58]
  • institute legal proceedings against, bring action against – sue[14]
  • inter alia – (omit)[8]or use "among others"[58]
  • interface – meet, work with[8][59]
  • in terms of –(omit)[58][60]
  • interpose no objection – don't object[8]
  • in the amount of – for[8]
  • in the case of – when[26]
  • in the event of – if[8][25][10][60]
  • in the majority of instances – usually[19]
  • in the nature of – like[60]
  • in the near future – shortly, soon[8]
  • in the process of – (omit)[8]
  • in view of – since[8]
  • in view of the above – so[8]
  • irregardless – regardless[15][61]
  • is applicable to – applies to[8]
  • is authorized to – may[8]
  • is in consonance with – agrees with, follows[8]
  • is responsible for – (omit) handles[8]
  • it appears – seems[8]
  • it is – (omit)[8]
  • it is essential – must, need to[8]
  • it is requested – please, we request, I request[8]
  • it is important to add that, in this regard it is of significance that, it may be recalled that, it is interesting to point out that – (omit)[30]

L[edit]

  • liaison – discussion[8]
  • -ly (doubtless, fast, ill, much, seldom, thus) – (omit)[62]
  • last will and testament – will[63]

M[edit]

N[edit]

O[edit]

P[edit]

Q[edit]

  • question as to whether, question of whether – question whether[99]
  • quite puzzling – baffling[50]

R[edit]

S[edit]

T[edit]

U[edit]

V[edit]

W[edit]

Y[edit]

  • you are requested – please[119]
  • your attention is drawn – please see, please note[119]
  • your office – you[8]

Symbols[edit]

  • / (slash) – and, or[8]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Schiess & 2003-2004, pp. 71–75.
  2. ^ SEC 1998, p. 27.
  3. ^ Garner 2001.
  4. ^ Garner 2002, pp. 100–01: "cumbersome phrases; lawyerisms"
  5. ^ a b Wydick 1978, p. 739: "lawyerism"
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Plain English Campaign 1998, p. 3.
  7. ^ a b Garner 2009a, p. 371: "formal word"
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw dx dy dz ea eb ec ed ee ef eg eh ei ej ek el em en eo ep eq er es et eu ev ew ex ey ez fa fb fc fd fe ff fg fh fi fj fk fl fm fn fo fp fq fr fs ft fu fv fw fx fy fz ga gb gc gd ge gf gg gh gi gj gk gl gm gn go gp gq gr gs gt gu gv gw gx gy gz ha hb hc hd he hf hg hh hi hj hk hl hm hn ho hp hq Simple word suggestions 2013.
  9. ^ a b c Schiess, p. 1: "heavy connector"
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Plain English Campaign 2001, p. 10: "word to avoid"
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Plain English Campaign 2001, p. 4.
  12. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 611: "unnecessary"
  13. ^ Garner 2002, p. 102.
  14. ^ a b c d Garner 2009a, p. 587: "officialese"
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Garner 2009b, p. 91: "genteelism"
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h Garner 2009b, p. 96: "commercialese"
  17. ^ Garner 2002, p. 104: "legaldegook"
  18. ^ Garner 2002, p. 104: "wordy"
  19. ^ a b c d e Wydick 1978, p. 733: "verbose"
  20. ^ Garner 2002, p. 104: "wordy, except at beginning of sentence"
  21. ^ Garner 2002, pp. 104–05.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Wydick 1978, p. 731: "compound preposition"
  23. ^ Plain English Campaign 2001, p. 5.
  24. ^ Garner 2002, p. 104.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h SEC 1998, p. 25: "superfluous"
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i Wydick 1978, p. 732: "verbose"
  27. ^ a b c Plain English Campaign 2001, p. 6.
  28. ^ Garner 2002, p. 106.
  29. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 155: "class distinction"
  30. ^ a b Wydick 1978, p. 755: "throat-clearing"
  31. ^ Garner 2002, p. 107.
  32. ^ Wydick 1978, p. 755: "adjective-adverb mania"
  33. ^ Garner 2002, p. 108.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k SEC 1998, p. 27: "negative compound"
  35. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 284: "redundant"
  36. ^ Garner 2002, p. 112.
  37. ^ a b Garner 2009a, p. 287: "redundant"
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i Plain English Campaign 2001, p. 11.
  39. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 300: "redundant"
  40. ^ a b c SEC 1998, p. 31: "simpler synonym"
  41. ^ a b c d Wydick 1978, p. 739: "stuffy"
  42. ^ Garner 2002, p. 113: "deadwood"
  43. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 313: "redundant"
  44. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 313: "usually superfluous"
  45. ^ Garner 2002, p. 115: "a favorite word of jargonmongers"
  46. ^ a b Garner 2002, p. 115.
  47. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 355: "cliché"
  48. ^ a b Plain English Campaign 2001, p. 12.
  49. ^ Kimble & 1998-2000, p. 113: "wordy"
  50. ^ a b c Wydick 1978, p. 754: "adjective-adverb mania"
  51. ^ Schiess, pp. 1–2: "heavy connector"
  52. ^ Garner 2002, p. 118: "voguish phrase"
  53. ^ Garner 2002, p. 118.
  54. ^ Garner 2002, p. 119: "vogue word"
  55. ^ a b Wydick 1978, p. 737: "verbose"
  56. ^ a b Garner 2002, p. 119.
  57. ^ a b Garner 2002, p. 120.
  58. ^ a b c Garner 2002, p. 121.
  59. ^ Garner 2002, p. 121: "jargonmonger's word"
  60. ^ a b c d e f g h i Wydick 1978, p. 732: "compound preposition"
  61. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 570: "nonword"
  62. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 24: "nonword double adverbs"
  63. ^ Lebovitz 2008, p. 59: "redundant"
  64. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 522.
  65. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 522: "cliché"
  66. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 522: "redundant"
  67. ^ Garner 2002, p. 125.
  68. ^ Garner 2009a, pp. 532–33: "redundant"
  69. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 533: "redundant"
  70. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 594: "superfluous"
  71. ^ a b c d e Schiess, p. 2: "heavy connector"
  72. ^ Saffire 1997: "pompous, snooty"
  73. ^ Garner 2002, p. 128.
  74. ^ Kimble 2002, p. 45: "legal jargon"
  75. ^ Garner 2002, p. 129.
  76. ^ a b Butt 2006, p. 29: "jargon"
  77. ^ Kimble & 1998-2000, p. 114: "redundant doublet"
  78. ^ Garner 2002, p. 129: "stuffy"
  79. ^ Garner 2009b, p. 94: "officialese"
  80. ^ Garner 2002, p. 130.
  81. ^ a b c Garner 2009a, p. 594: "verbose"
  82. ^ a b c Garner 2002, p. 131.
  83. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 598: "redundant"
  84. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 600: "superfluous"
  85. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 601: "vogue word"
  86. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 602: "jargon"
  87. ^ Garner 2002, p. 132: "jargonistic vogue word"
  88. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 618: "archaic"
  89. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 630: "redundant"
  90. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 640: "clumsy phrase"
  91. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 648: "jargon"
  92. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 653: "euphemism"
  93. ^ a b Garner 2002, p. 133.
  94. ^ Garner 2002, p. 134.
  95. ^ Garner 2002, p. 135.
  96. ^ Schiess & 2003-2004, pp. 57–58: "wordy"
  97. ^ a b c d Plain English Campaign 2001, p. 11: "word to avoid"
  98. ^ Garner 2002, p. 136: "legalese"
  99. ^ Garner 2002, p. 136.
  100. ^ Garner 2002, pp. 136–37: "verbose"
  101. ^ Garner 2002, p. 137: "redundan[t]"
  102. ^ Garner 2002, p. 137.
  103. ^ Plain English Campaign 2001, p. 26.
  104. ^ Garner 2009b, p. 91: "genteelism
  105. ^ SEC 1998, p. 35.
  106. ^ Garner 2002, p. 139: "legaldegook"
  107. ^ Schiess & 2003-2004, p. 56: "vague word"
  108. ^ Kimble 1992.
  109. ^ Schiess & 2003-2004, p. 74.
  110. ^ Garner 2009b, p. 91: "officialese"
  111. ^ Garner 2002, p. 141.
  112. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 845: "verbose"
  113. ^ Lebovitz 2001, p. 56: "legalese"
  114. ^ Plain English Campaign 2001, p. 30.
  115. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 838: "redundant"
  116. ^ Garner 2009a, p. 842: "weasel word"
  117. ^ a b Plain English Campaign 2001, p. 31.
  118. ^ Garner 2002, p. 147: "legalese"
  119. ^ a b Plain English Campaign 2001, p. 32.

References[edit]