Friday, August 19, 2005

Do you come with "references"?

Questionable phrase: "with reference to" or "regarding"
Example: When submitting a question with reference to our company policy on rebates...
Thought: Using more complex language often reduces understanding.
Recommendation: simplify "with reference to" to "about"
New example: When submitting a question about our company policy on rebates...
Rationale: the simpler the language, the quicker it is to read and the easier it is to understand.

I often find this more complex language in use by bureaucrats and educators, in addition to the inexperienced who confuse it for more formal language. The best rule I can cite is K.I.S.S. -- keep it simple stupid!

See my blog on clichés at


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