Academic Language

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Don’t Be Broad, Be Detailed

Be clear, direct, and descriptive with your words and phrases. Do not obscure your ideas with universal declarations or general blanket statements that have no backing. Substantiate your ideas.

Vague: Since the dawn of civilization, humans have tried to find cures for the illnesses that plagued them.

Corrected: Since the advent of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), doctors have been able to look more closely into the human body and understand disorders that once baffled them.

1. Don’t make factual statements without supporting evidence.

Unsupported: It is known definitively that electronic health records are helpful to people in cities.

Corrected: Electronic health records increase patient turnover by 20%, thus, enhancing the quality of care in densely populated areas (Smith 2011).

2. Explain who and what you’re referring to specifically. 

Vague: People say that hospitals are depressing, but they are also places for good.

Corrected: Although Smith (2013) acknowledged hospitals as a place of death, he ultimately showed that they were “centers for healing rather than despair” (p. 23).

Vague: We all know that leadership is important for business and money.

Corrected: Leadership is an essential healthcare skill because it helps facilities run more effectively and cost efficiently.

Video Tutorial on Broad Language

Don’t Use Filler Words or Phrases

Remove unnecessary words or phrases that help get the word count up or make the diction overly complex. Be efficient with your language. Don’t overuse prepositions or adjectives.

Unnecessary: It is known in the realm of healthcare that patient data is important to track.

Corrected: Patient data is important to track.

Unnecessary: Something that the clinic could improve upon from what they’ve been doing previously in regard to communication is to contact patients directly using telephones or other calling devices.

Corrected: The clinic could improve its communication by calling patients directly.

Unnecessary: In the depths of the dreary hospital, there sat a patient waiting sadly for an exam that would decide their fate.

Corrected: The patient waited for the exam.

Video Tutorial on Filler Language

Don’t Use Informal Language

Do not use slang, jargon, idioms, colloquialisms, hyperboles, or clichés. Be specific, direct, and literal.

Chart of informal language to use and not to use

Video Tutorial on Informal Language

Last Updated May 9, 2017