Appendix C: Usage
Avoid clichés (e.g., cutting-edge, state-of-the-art, world-class, 24/7).
Avoid pretentiousness and wordiness. Following are examples of pretentious words and wordy phrases. Suggested substitutions are in parentheses.
- afford an opportunity (allow)
- at a future point in time (later)
- in the final analysis (finally)
- despite the fact that (despite)
- during the course of (during)
- for the purpose of (to)
- on an annual basis (yearly)
- whether or not (whether)
Avoid poor phrases such as the following:
- “It goes without saying” (Then why are we saying it?)
- “Students could care less” (This implies students have some level of caring.) The correct phrase is “students could not care less.”
Utilize is an overworked, pretentious substitute for use. Utilize means to use something in a way in which it was not originally intended. Example: I didn’t have a screwdriver, so I utilized a knife to remove the screw. In other cases, use is preferred because it is shorter, takes less space and is quicker to read.