50 easy changes that will improve your writing today

Person wearing a denim jacket sits at a wooden table while writing with a pencil in a paper notebook. A cup of coffee and two other notebooks are on the table.
Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

Good writing usually relies on simple, straightforward, and (often) short words. If you’re having trouble being concise, or if you’re stuck with strict character counts, here are some easy swaps you can start making today. 

Note: these are suggestions, not laws. Short words do not by default mean better writing. You can write badly using short words and write well using long words, and vice versa. The key is to choose words that improve clarity, not inhibit it.

Never use a big word when a diminutive phrase can be utilized 😉

Instead of… Use…

  1. accommodate >> help or fit
  2. accommodation >> room
  3. accomplish >> do
  4. accordingly >> so
  5. advise >> tell
  6. applicant >> you
  7. approximately >> about
  8. assist >> help
  9. beneficial >> helpful or useful
  10. commence >> start
  11. complete >> fill in
  12. configure >> set up
  13. consequently >> so
  14. enable >> allow
  15. execute >> run
  16. facilitate >> help or run (as in a workshop)
  17. forward >> send
  18. halt >> stop
  19. have a need for >> need
  20. image >> picture
  21. immediately >> now
  22. in excess of >> more than
  23. in order to >> to
  24. in the amount of >> for
  25. in the event of >> if
  26. in the process of >> during or while
  27. liaise >> meet
  28. modify >> change
  29. navigate >> go
  30. obtain >> get
  31. perform >> do
  32. pre-plan >> plan
  33. prior to >> before
  34. purchase >> buy
  35. reason for >> why
  36. regarding >> about
  37. remuneration >> payment
  38. request >> ask
  39. resolve >> fix
  40. serious crisis >> crisis
  41. similar to >> like
  42. submit >> give or send
  43. subsequently >> then
  44. terminate >> end
  45. therefore >> so
  46. toggle >> switch
  47. transmit >> send
  48. utilize >> use
  49. with reference to >> about
  50. with the exception of >> except for

This article was reposted on Medium on January 30, 2019


Thanks for reading! Reach out on Twitter or LinkedIn, too!


Header image by @katstokes_ on Unsplash

Posted by

Writer and editor in San Francisco. Lover of all things healthy & wise. Blogger, runner, yogi, author of books available @Amazon!

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