Word Usage

Keep it simple.

Short words and direct, declarative sentences are best.  Occasionally, vary sentence length to maintain the
reader’s interest.  Strive for a moderate paragraph length.  A good length is a single double-spaced page.  
Structure each paragraph around a result or concept (topic).  Avoid using jargon, this ultimately limits the
number of readers that easily understand your writing.  Avoid wordiness and redundancy.  By using fewer
words, less can go wrong.  As a general rule, the simpler the writing, the better your readers will understand it.  
If possible, search your work for these types of words and phrases and replace them.  Write ‘before’ instead
of ‘prior to’, ‘more than’ rather than ‘in excess of’, ‘indicates’ not ‘is indicative of’, and ‘depends on’ not ‘is
dependent upon’.  These are wordy phrases that suggest the writer is trying to sound important.  

Wordiness takes many forms.

Consider the following example:

The current study illustrates the close proximity of corticofugal neurons projecting to distinct areas of the
auditory brainstem, a finding in striking agreement with previously reported work.

There are five extra words or phrases in this sentence.  Can you find them?  Spend a few minutes thinking
about this sentence before you
proceed.
Previous
Go To Step 4
Previous
Next
Writing MS Guide Home