When you are writing business documents, say exactly what you mean, using the simplest words that fit. This does not necessarily mean only using simple words - just words that the reader will understand.

For most words you will be able to decide yourself whether they are suitable.  Most importantly, don’t use jargon that is part of your working life unless you are writing to someone who uses the same jargon.  If a teacher is writing to an education officer, the jargon word ‘SATs’ could be very useful in saving time and space. But you wouldn’t use it when writing to a parent. So in general, keep to everyday English whenever possible.

Here’s a list of words you should try to avoid, to give you a basic idea of what we mean. Try to use the alternatives we suggest in the ‘use’ column.

AVOID

USE

additional

extra

advise

tell

applicant

you

commence

start

complete

fill in

comply with

keep to

consequently

so

ensure

make sure

forward

send

in excess of

more than

in respect of

for

in the event of

if

on receipt

when we/you get

on request

if you ask

particulars

details

per annum

a year

persons

people

prior to

before

purchase

buy

regarding

about

should you wish

if you wish

terminate

end

whilst

while

 
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