Use simple words, concise sentences

Make every word count. Concise, clear sentences save space, are easy to understand, and facilitate scanning. Use simple words with precise meanings, and remove words that don’t add substance. Use your judgment to avoid sounding abrupt or unfriendly.

  • Choose simple verbs without modifiers. Whenever you can, avoid weak or vague verbs, such as be, have, make, and do.

    Use this Not this
    use utilize, make use of
    remove extract, take away, eliminate
    tell inform, let know
  • Don’t use two or three words when one will do.

    Use this Not this
    to in order to, as a means to
    also in addition
    connect establish connectivity
  • Whenever possible, choose words that have one clear meaning.

    Use this Not this
    Because you created the table, you can change it. Since you created the table, you can change it.
  • Omit unnecessary adverbs—words that describe how, when, or where. Unless they're important to the meaning of a statement, leave them out.

  • Use one term consistently to represent one concept.

  • Use words that can be both nouns and verbs carefully—file, post, mark, screen, record, and report, for example. Use the sentence structure and context to eliminate ambiguity.