How to write clearly

7. Be concrete, not abstract

Be concrete, not abstract

Concrete messages are clear — abstract language can be vague and off-putting. Too much abstract language might even lead your reader to think either that you don’t know what you are writing about or that your motives for writing are suspect.

Unless you have a good reason, if you can use a concrete word instead of a more abstract word that means the same, choose the concrete word.

Your message will be more direct and therefore more powerful.

Sometimes, instead of this ... : you could try this:
cloudy_sun.png sun.png
eliminate cut out
achieve an objective meet a target
employment opportunities jobs
negative evolution downturn
remunerated employment paid work
investing in human capital *
  • (workforce) training
  • improving (workers’) skills
  • training and education

* As this example shows, the problem is often pinning down your exact meaning.


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