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Words and phrases to avoid

Avoid words with subjective,  relative, or ambiguous meaning within instructional content.

Subjective phrases

Competency assumptions: Avoid delineating content based on arbitrary levels of expertise. For example: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced.

Level of difficulty: Avoid phrases such as "simple" or "easy" that can vary based on customer expectations or experience.

Relative time or location

Avoid words that can be interpreted differently based on context or perspective.

  • General or generally
  • Usual or usually
  • Normal or normally
  • Regular or regularly
  • Often, frequent, or frequently
  • Occasional or occasionally
  • Fast, quick, or quickly
  • Slow or slowly
  • Close or near by
  • Reasonable

Multiple or ambiguous meanings

Avoid words that can mean different things depending on how they are used.

  • Once - instead use after or one time.
  • Since - instead use after or because.
  • Like - instead use such as or preference.
  • Should - instead use will, will not, can, or cannot.

Format or linear dependencies

Avoid words or phrases that refer to format or order of operations that could change.

  • Article/document/page
  • Above
  • Below
  • Previous
  • Next

Latin abbreviations

  • namely - rephrase to avoid.
  • for example - instead use for example.
  • n.b. - instead use note.



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