Real Words that Work

By Patricia Davies, President, Patricia Davies Communications   
Light the candles for trim words
International Plain Language Day is coming up on October 13. The event highlights a growing worldwide movement that emphasizes the benefits of clear, concise and direct writing. It falls on the last day of Plain 2013, a conference in Vancouver highlighting international speakers and panel discussions. Below is my small nod to the festivities: a list of fat phrases and thin substitutes that can help reduce the flab in your writing.
Fat Phrases   Thin Substitutes
At this point in time Now
Provide a summary of Summarize
End result Result
Advance planning Planning
For the purpose of For 
For the reason that Because
With the exception of Except 
Collaborate together Collaborate 
Positive improvement Improvement 
Due to the fact that Because
Make a decision Decide 
Clearly defined objectives Clear goals
With regards to Regarding 
Each and every Each
In order to To
Make arrangements to Arrange 
In spite of the fact that Although
Take action to Act
In close proximity to Near 
Make changes in Change 

GPS (Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation) Tips 
In response to reader requests this column will occasionally include hints on grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS).
We all learned the spelling rule “i before e except after c” as in receive and deceive. However, there are exceptions related to something about long vowel pronunciations. Best just to memorize the most common: neighbour, weird, weight, height, foreign.
Patricia Davies is an award-winning writer and editor, an Endorsed Education Provider with IIBA®, and a regular panelist on the IIBA “Being a BA: Effective Communication: Webinar (first Tuesday of every month). Do you have a writing question? Please email to and we’ll try to address it in a future column or Webinar.