By Susan Carter
In the latest doctoral writing group, we blitzed words that were the cause of inaccuracy, often because the tone they added was too informal. This post gives our list of words that are treacherous. We welcome comments or offers of posts that identify more words that might be tricky. Here are words that we think should be used with caution by doctoral writers.
Firstly, ‘very’ probably does not have a place in a thesis. (Please add a comment if you disagree.) I’d recommend ‘significant’ as an alternative, one that may require a little rephrasing.
Myriad is a tricky word. My Shorter Oxford Dictionary (SOD) says that literally a myriad is ten thousand, and can also mean countless numbers, hordes. So whenever I read that there are myriads of challenges, I replace ‘myriads of’ with ‘many.’ So in that case, the problem is wild overstatement. Wild overstatement is acceptable in many circles, those inhabited by people who like to shriek “OMG!” often, and declare that they would die rather than revise their chapter again. However, the academic community tends not to be like that and can be disapproving. It is better to stay within the reality factor. Continue reading