The problems we address as scientists are complex, but the way we explain them should not be so. We often add unnecessary complexity to our texts by using sophisticated words arranged in long sentences. ❌ If you speak a Romance language (e.g., Spanish, Italian, or French) as your mother tongue, you should be especially careful not to complicate your message when writing in English. This practice can make it more difficult for the reader to understand your message (or sometimes even to finish reading your text). 😩

As you review your draft papers, you should always ask yourself if there are any words that could be deleted or replaced with simpler alternatives ✔ without changing the meaning of the sentence. In that case, you should not hesitate to do it. Simpler words in shorter sentences better convey your ideas. Your readers will be grateful to you for eliminating the surrounding noise so they can hear your message loud and clear. 😃


Before: A sentence – no matter where in the writing it occurs – should contain no unnecessary or superfluous words, words that stand in the way of the writer’s direct expression of his or her meaning and purpose. 

After: Sentences should contain no unnecessary words, which can obscure the writer’s meaning.

Finally, effective writing is readable, clear, accurate, and concise.

We share the table below so you can already start to simplify your texts.

Instead of…Consider using…Instead of…Consider using…
due to the fact thatbecause/sincenearly uniqueunique/rare
despite the fact thatalthoughplays a key role inis key for
a large majority ofmosta new initiativean initiative
has the capacity tocanfor the first time(nothing)
is able tocanas well asand
are capable ofcangiven thatsince
whether or notwhetherin order toto
are in agreementagreeat this point in timenow
prior toBeforegives rise tocauses
in the event thatifvery/extremely/highly(nothing)
on the other handin contrastin a careful mannercarefully
subsequent toafterfirst of allfirst
due to the fact thatbecauseit should be emphasised thatNote that
for the purposes of…for…it is noteworthy thatNote that
the question as to whetherwhetherit is worth highlighting thatNote that
both cultures were equally affectedthe cultures were equally affectedit is important to note thatNote that

This material is based on the following resources with some additions and modifications from Gavin Lucas and Valeria Di Giacomo.


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