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Bill Bennett


Jargon doesn’t make you look smarter

Jargon makes it easier to write about technology. Technical ideas are often quicker and easier to discuss using the private language of engineers and geeks.

Some technical terms pack a lot of meaning into a single word or a phrase. There are times when jargon is a useful short cut.

Even so, try to keep jargon under control. And only use it in context.

It can be a barrier to understanding. A lot is misused or confusing. Remember sometimes specialist language is used as a deliberate tool to hide meaning from outsiders.

There’s no excuse for indulging in the robot-speak used by corporations and government departments.

And there’s an argument that jargon can be a form of intimidation or bullying.

Jargon doesn’t make you look smarter. It tells your readers you’re a pompous windbag.

Often it makes your words, and your meaning, harder to understand.

Remember, not every reader is a native English speaker. And not every native speaker is tuned in to specialised language.

Some pet hates:

  • Ongoing – and ongoing situation is worse.
  • Going forward – if you mean in the future say so.
  • Ground rules.
  • Upturn.
  • Outcome is a particularly nasty piece of political and bureaucratic doublespeak for result.
  • Currently.




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