Published on April 25, 2024

Pradhani Yanwar and John Morris

School of Industrial Education and Technology,
King Mongkut”s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang,
Bangkok 10520, Thailand

Corresponding author:
ORCID APY 0000-0001-7162-1339; JM 0000-0003-0539-1189

Copyright retained by authors


English is growing: new words are added rapidly. This makes it increasingly complicated – and thus harder to read – especially for non-native speakers. In particular, in the scientific and technical literature, the proliferation of new words slows down readers and hampers the distribution and use of new ideas, so that all of us, native speakers included, are disadvantaged by unnecessarily complicated papers. This paper focuses on the scientific and technical literature; it lists examples of unnecessary words found in recent papers. In each case, it suggests a simpler alternative, using a word or short phrase, that can be understood more readily by any reader. Some examples of patterns in unnecessary words, i.e. ones that should not be used by a good technical writer, are discussed and some ways to recognize words, e.g. words prefixed (unnecessarily) by “meta” or “hyper,” that we do not need in our vocabularies, are discussed. Use of these simpler words particularly benefits non-native speakers, who know the simple words, because they met them in early English classes or introductory science classes. By writing simply, your ideas will be promoted and more widely discussed: your paper will not be the one that your reader puts aside, because he or she does not have time to comprehend the unfamiliar words.

See the full article here.