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Cooperative Online Writing Lab. Word Choice: Appropriate Language. Bluefield College COWL, 2005. Stay away from jargon. What is jargon? Jargon is a specialized language used among members of a trade, profession, or group.

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cooperative online writing lab

Cooperative Online Writing Lab

Word Choice: Appropriate Language

Bluefield College COWL, 2005

stay away from jargon
Stay away from jargon.
  • What is jargon? Jargon is a specialized language used among members of a trade, profession, or group.
  • Examples of jargon and their alternate words are in parenthesis: commence (begin), components (parts), endeavor (try), exit (leave), facilitate (help), factor (cause), indicator (sign), optimal best (best), parameters (boundaries, limits), prior to (before), utilize (use), viable (workable).

Bluefield College COWL, 2005

avoid showy language
Showy

Pre-owned automobile

Economically deprived

Strategic withdrawal

Chemical dependency

Downsize

Correctional facility

Plain English

Used car

Poor

Retreat or defeat

Drug addiction

Lay off

Prison

Avoid showy language.

Bluefield College COWL, 2005

avoid obsolete archaic and invented words
Avoid obsolete, archaic, and invented words.
  • Obsolete words are out-dated words.
  • Archaic words are old words that are still used, but only in special contexts such as literature or advertising.
  • Although dictionaries may list obsolete or archaic words, they still are not appropriate for current use.

Bluefield College COWL, 2005

in most contexts avoid slang regional expressions and nonstandard english
A few words that are considered slang:

Cool

Neat

Wicked

Awesome

Examples of regional expressions and their corrections in white:

Cut on the lights

Turn on the lights

Going down the tubes

Waste

Gross you out

Disgust you

In most contexts, avoid slang, regional expressions, and nonstandard English.

Bluefield College COWL, 2005

avoid sexist language
Inappropriate:

Chairman

Congressman

Fireman

Mankind

Salesman

Weatherman

Appropriate:

Chairperson

Representative, legislator

Firefighter

People, humans

Salesperson

Weather forecaster, meteorologist

Avoid sexist language.

Bluefield College COWL, 2005

it s your turn correct each sentence
It’s your turn.Correct each sentence.

In Nicaragua, the most economically deprived neighborhood actually lived in the dump.

In Nicaragua, the poorest neighborhood lived in the dump.

The meeting commenced as the leader cut the lights on and off.

The meeting began as the leader turned the lights on and off.

Bluefield College COWL, 2005

more practice
More Practice

The boxing match betwixt Brian and John was competitive.

Police officers and firefighters are heroes.

The boxing match between Brian and John was competitive.

Policemen and firemen are heroes.

Bluefield College COWL, 2005

choose an appropriate level of formality
Choose an appropriate level of formality.
  • Click mouse to receive tips.
  • Consider both your subject and your audience.
  • For most college and professional writing, some degree of formality is appropriate.
  • Informal writing is for private letters, e-mail, articles in popular magazines, and business correspondence between close associates.
  • Contractions (don’t, I’ll) and colloquial words (kids, buddy) are considered informal.

Bluefield College COWL, 2005

choose if the samples are formal or informal find clues that tell you this
Choose if the samples are formal or informal. Find clues that tell you this.

Audience

Dear Grandma,

Slang

‘s

INFORMAL

The weather has been awesome. I can’t believe it’s spring. My classes are getting pretty tough. Exams are in two weeks.

‘s

Simple sentences

Bluefield College COWL, 2005

another sample
Another Sample

Audience

Mr. Phillips:

I must address the topic discussed in our last meeting. The information I gathered was relevant at the time; however, the data has changed since a new research report was released. The company cannot rely on old reports. I will gather updated information immediately.

FORMAL

Complex

sentence

Two words

Two words

Bluefield College COWL, 2005

slide12

You

now

know

what

is

appropriate

when

writing!

Bluefield College COWL, 2005

need more assistance
Need More Assistance?

Stop by the Writing Center

Come back to COWL again and again!

or

We Mooove fast to help you!

Bluefield College COWL, 2005