List: Alternatives to showy words

Do you ever roll your eyes at manuals?

I do, at least when the writing is full of showy words that make the meaning unclear. I love technical documents, and I know technical writers often have to deal with weird requirements. So I roll my eyes with affection, but still…they roll.

A few years ago, I started keeping this list of showy words. When I notice a new one, I add it, along with a couple simple alternatives. It’s a good reminder to use the simplest word that expresses my meaning. Hey, I don’t want to make my own list [she said nervously].

The latest is “optics,” if you’re wondering. Yes, this is my idea of fun…why do you ask?!

Showy Word     Simple Alternatives
anticipate expect, predict
collaborate work together
conceptualize think about, plan
datafication relies on data to work
disrupt change
elementary basic, simple
epic important, impressive, ambitious
evangelize promote, encourage
function work, purpose, role
granular detailed
herein in this document
innovate invent, update, change
innumerable many, too many
intractable stubborn, difficult
leverage use, influence
monetize turn into profit, make money from
obviate avoid, prevent, remove
optics appearance, impression
optimum best, ideal
reciprocate share, reply
requisite required, mandatory
synergy work well together
terminate end, stop
thereafter later, after
touch base meet, talk, call
transmit send, tell
utility use, benefit
verbose wordy, talkative
visualize imagine, expect