Medical Writing Writing better Troublesome words

Volume 26, Issue 1 - Writing better

Troublesome words

Abstract

Medical writing tends to contain longer, less common, words than English fiction, and they are here termed troublesome words. Troublesome words are an indicator of poor style, and often point to grammatical errors. An easy way to start improving one’s writing is to look for these troublesome words and replace them with shorter, more common, synonyms. From quantitative analysis of medical and general English, lists can be drawn up of common troublesome words, and of troublesome words whose prevalence is increasing particularly in medical English. The words discussed here are novel, demonstrate, exhibit, explore, quantify, evaluate, option, perform, execute, represents, and target. Exercises are provided, and readers are encouraged to seek out poor medical writing and to improve it.

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President’s Message
EMWA News
Advancing the Medical Writing profession: The Joint Position Statement on the Role of Professional Medical Writers
AMWA-EMWA-ISMPP Joint Position Statement on the Role of Professional Medical Writers
EMWA’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
Finding the action in your writing: Avoiding nominalisation
Removing the dead wood
Writing economically in medicine and science: Tips for tackling wordiness
How to shorten a text by up to 30% and improve clarity without losing information
Troublesome words
Can you recognise the four main ways that English sentences can be structured?
Three strategies to help you write clearly for a lay audience
Structuring paragraphs
A checklist to improve your writing
Results of the 2016 EMWA member survey
News from the EMA
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Teaching Medical Writing
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Lingua Franca and Beyond
The Webscout
Good Writing Practice
Medical Communications
Profile: An Interview with Michael Markie - an open science and open data advocate
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