9 Short words are better than long words NumerousMany IndividualPerson, man or woman RemainderRest InitialFirst To implementTo do AttemptTry SufficientEnough Referred to asCalled
10 Use Anglo-Saxon, not Latin or French FacilitateHelp UtilizeUse DemonstrateShow Initiate, commenceBegin In close proximity toNear Despite the fact thatAlthough EndeavourTry
11 Use Anglo-Saxon, not Latin or French Exerts a lethal effectKills For the purpose of To In view of the fact thatBecause Is equipped withHas MagnitudeSize Prior toBefore Subsequent toAfter Until such time asUntil RemuneratePay Negatively affectsHarms
12 Use words the reader can understand The region has an annual surplus of water The region has more than enough water Women are involved in the disposal of the output of rice production Women sell the rice Long aeroplane trips may lead to transmeridianal dyschronism After a long plane trip you may have jet lag
13 Cut out words I’d like the steak with, near or adjacent to french fries, including but not limited to the mixed vegetables, accompanied, concurrent with, and at the same time as a beer.
14 Cut out words The rural poor face multiple problems which are interlocking in nature The rural poor face many interlocking problems He initiated and facilitated the conduct of meetings and workshops... He helped conduct meetings... In the context of Rio de Janeiro… In Rio… Lessons learned Lessons
15 What is jargon? Special language used in business, medicine, science, government, and development work Tries to make the message and its sender seem important Uses long, impressive-sounding words Uses several words instead of one Makes the message harder to understand
16 Jargon On average, among adults, total food intake was higher for males than for females = On average, men ate more than women Obesity is a significant factor contributing to the incidence of coronary disease = Overweight people tend to have heart problems
18 Use short sentences This cooperative of vegetable growers in the rural village of Paliparan located in the municipality of Dasmariñas, Cavite province in the Philippines, was initiated as an interest group of 17 vegetable growers in 1982 (31 words) The cooperative is located in Paliparan village, about 40 km south of Manila, the Philippine capital. It began in 1982 when 17 vegetable growers formed an interest group (25 words, 2 sentences)
Don’t make a sentence do too much work Its Community Resilience Campaign has refined a set of strategies to facilitate grassroots women’s groups to take collective action and negotiate with local and national governments to build resilience of communities experiencing the adverse impacts of climate change and disasters. (40 words, 1 sentence) Its Community Resilience Campaign helps communities affected by climate change and disasters. It has refined a set of strategies for grassroots women’s groups, including collective action and negotiating with local and national governments. (33 words, 2 sentences) 19
Say what you mean The actual process of rapid urban expansion takes place at the level of the informal community. Cities grow quickly as people move into slums. 20
The long sentence game Start with a short sentence The next person must repeat the sentence and add an idea to it. The first person to cannot remember or who is unable to add an item is out! Use as much jargon as possible!
22 Reconstruction begins the day after a disaster Reconstruction begins the day after a disaster, often with women leading the way. Reconstruction begins the day after a disaster, often with women leading the way, using strategies developed through participatory approaches. Reconstruction begins the day after a disaster, often with women leading the way, using strategies developed through participatory approaches to involve multiple stakeholders. Reconstruction begins the day after a disaster, often with women leading the way, using strategies developed through participatory approaches to involve multiple stakeholders to build resilience. Reconstruction begins the day after a disaster, often with women leading the way, using strategies developed through participatory approaches to involve multiple stakeholders to build resilience and mitigate further risk.
24 Use active verbs, not passives The coop was initiated by the villagers… The villagers started the coop… It was decided by the governor that the assistance to the project was to be suspended The governor stopped supporting the project Who does what?
25 Milk extraction is done in presence of the calf attached to the foreleg of her mother Before starting to milk, the herder ties the calf to its mother’s foreleg
26 A member of the Zantiébougou cooperative making shea nut paste. She will cook the paste to make shea butter Extracting the emulsion from the nuts by a member of the Zantiébougou Cooperative. It is this emulsion which, after cooking in a pot on the fire, gives shea butter
27 Avoid weak verbs Am, is, are, was, were Conduct, provide Promote, implement Take place
28 Avoid weak verbs She was a student of Indian history She studied Indian history They conducted a study of the movement They studied the movement They promoted the sale of medicinal plants They sold medicinal plants IIRR implemented a strategy that resulted in the formation of 22 cooperatives IIRR helped form 22 cooperatives
29 Avoid weak starts There is… There are… It is important to note that… Interestingly… It is self-evident that… It goes without saying that… I might add… It should be pointed out that…
30 Turn abstract nouns into verbs Abstract nouns often end in -tion Acquisition Acquire, get DemonstrationDemonstrate, show GuidanceGuide
31 Turn abstract nouns into verbs Clayey soil has maximum water retention ability Find the noun that is built from a verb Turn it into a verb Retention ► Retain Find the Anglo-Saxon equivalent Retention ► Retain ► Hold Clayey soil can hold the most water
32 Turn abstract nouns into verbs The group plans the acquisition of a new vehicle The group wants to buy a jeep The aim of the project was to... The project aimed to... His conclusion was that the funds had been misappropriated by the cooperative leader He concluded that the coop leader had stolen the money
33 Avoid inflated prepositions and conjunctions With the possible exception of…Except For the reason that…Because In the context of…In He totally lacked the ability to…He couldn’t She was unable to give any information beyond the fact that…She said
34 Break up strings of nouns The following innovative project implementation modes were effected The project tested several new approaches The vastness, remoteness and endemic drought have posed severe challenges to the pastoral production system Pastoralists range over huge, remote, dry areas. That makes life for them difficult
35 Break up strings of nouns Generic human capacity development needs assessment methodology A way to assess capacity-development needs that can be used elsewhere
36 Get rid of prepositions Especially of and by The implementation of this project was undertaken by the project within the framework of the following objectives… We aimed to do the following…
37 Avoid unnecessary modifiers Adjectives and adverbs often carry no meaning Delete them, or make them specific He ran quickly to the shop He ran to the shop The farmers successfully harvested 3 tons of maize The farmers harvested 3 tons of maize She earned a good income She earned Rs 500
38 Avoid repeated words The components of the gender agenda aim to create a gender- responsive environment for gendering land tools, a review of gender- related land issues, gender and land analysis, land tools inventory from a gender perspective, piloting and scaling up of land tools that are particularly responsive to gender, evaluation of land tools from a gender perspective, and improving land governance with a gendered approach. Network partners have to date focused the work in this area on evaluating land tools from a gender perspective (gender evaluation criteria), reviewing gender-related land issues (research), and improving land governance through gender equality and grassroots participation.
39 Avoid repeated words The components of the gender agenda aim to create a gender- responsive environment for gendering land tools, a review of gender- related land issues, gender and land analysis, land tools inventory from a gender perspective, piloting and scaling up of land tools that are particularly responsive to gender, evaluation of land tools from a gender perspective, and improving land governance with a gendered approach. Network partners have to date focused the work in this area on evaluating land tools from a gender perspective (gender evaluation criteria), reviewing gender-related land issues (research), and improving land governance through gender equality and grassroots participation. Gender x 14 Land x 10 Tool x 5 Evaluate x 3 Perspective x 2 Issue x 2 Review x 2 Governance x 2 Improving x 2
40 Avoid repeated words The network has evaluated land issues and tools from a gender perspective, developed capacity on gender-and-land issues, and studied the tenure rights of women and legal reforms that affect them. In the longer term, it also aims to ensure that gender is incorporated in all the land tools, and to pilot and scale up these tools. Gender x 3 Land x 3 Tool x 3 Evaluate x 1 Perspective x 1 Issue x 2 Review x 0 Governance x 0 Improving x 0
41 Be precise (1) Words without much information: Fast, slow, good, bad, unusual, interesting… Better to say how fast or slow, why something is good, bad, unusual or interesting
42 Be precise (2) Feed your baby frequently Breast-feed your baby every 2 or 3 hours, or whenever he or she is hungry Vegetable consumption rose slightly People in St Kitts ate 5% more vegetables last year January rainfall is normally heavy The mean rainfall for January is 940 mm
43 Avoid false precision Too many significant digits The mean millet yield was 4.345 tons per hectare …4.3 tons… The average worker earns Rs 30.56 a day …Rs 30… The population is 34,965,865 …35,000,000
44 Add details if necessary… …to make sure the reader understands clearly what you are saying Use words that will build pictures in the reader’s mind Construction of health infrastructure has the capacity to catalyse significant improvements in rural nutrition New clinics can encourage rural people to eat better
45 Provide enough information The cooperative is located in the village of Paliparan in the municipality of Dasmariñas. The cooperative is located in Paliparan village, about 40 km south of the Philippine capital of Manila It borrows money from Pamana-ILCF and re-lends it to individual members of the coop at low interest rates It borrows money from Pamana-ILCF, an IIRR- supported credit cooperative. It relends this money to members at 7.5% interest a year
47 More information Wikipedia: Weasel word http://tinyurl.com/5wrdw8 http://tinyurl.com/5wrdw8 Ten quick tips to improve your writing http://tinyurl.com/2h5e4h http://tinyurl.com/2h5e4h Improve your writing: Your role as a writer http://tinyurl.com/lty2rs http://tinyurl.com/lty2rs