Jargon: One Enemy of Good Writing

By Tom Johnson, January 12, 2010 8:20 AM

This article is about jargon in the workplace, but highlights the confusing aspects of insider-only language:

Business people use jargon, thinking they’re showing off their intelligence or trying to win respect from their peers, even if it doesn’t work that way, said Michael Sebastian, a Web editor at Ragan Communications, a Chicago-based publishing and training company. Others turn to jargon to avoid offending people or appearing politically incorrect, said Chelsea Hardaway, the co-author of “Why Business People Speak Like Idiots.”

There are, of course, few fields more given to jargon than education. If you want your writing to reach a broader audience than just teachers, you need to excise jargon from your writing the way you’d swat cockroaches on a kitchen counter: with horror-fueled determination.

2 Responses to “Jargon: One Enemy of Good Writing”

  1. Lorie Lech says:

    I often find that the people who use the most jargon in the workplace do so to hide that they really know nothing of what they are talking about. Those who cannot tell it like it is and feel the need to fill what they say with token words and key phrases of the week are just hoping that no one will find this out.

  2. Sara Runge says:

    I have to agree with Lorie, but I must say that educators are most often the ones that do this. We talk to parents and others outside the education field, throwing around words, phrases, and acronyms related to the education field, without realizing that parents and others have absolutely no idea what we are saying. It is important that we recognize this and just “tell it like it is.”

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