Saturday, August 20, 2005

A "rewild" idea

Questionable word: "rewilding"
Citation: among other publications, Live Science, "Lions, Camels and Elephants, Oh My!" by Robert Roy Britt.
Usage: describes the possible practice of reintroducing wildlife present more than 10,000 years ago into the U.S. Great Plains and Southwest; recently recommended by scientists at Cornell University.
Recommendation: instead use "reintroduction" or "repatriation"
Rationale: why give an old concept a new name when the old names work fine?

Why is there this desire to make up words? Why does "rewilding" better describe "reintroduction" or even "wildlife repatriation"? At least if scientists and journalists used these terms to describe the practice, people could look up the term(s) in a dictionary. Rewilding isn't in the dictionary -- yet.

Also try my blog on clichés at

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