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  • Writer's pictureLeah Geller

Jargon's not always a bad thing

Updated: Apr 18, 2022

You just need to know how to handle it.

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines jargon as, "Words or expressions used by a particular group or profession."

Jargon may include the technical terms you use in health, science, research or engineering. In many cases, jargon may be the most appropriate and precise term for what you're trying to communicate.

So what do you do when you need to use jargon that your reader may not understand?

The first step is awareness – recognizing that a term may be familiar to you, but not to your reader.

You then need to define that word or term. Explain it simply and clearly in a phrase or sentence. If appropriate, use an example or metaphor to illustrate it further.

Here are a couple of examples from articles I've written:

- He led a project to provide post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) – HIV medications for those who have been exposed to the virus – free of charge.

- The team is looking at using metals as catalysts, which is the area that first drew Newman into sustainable chemistry. Catalysts are chemicals that 𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 a reaction, but are not 𝘶𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘶𝘱 in a reaction.

What is a technical term or jargon you use? How would you explain it to your reader?

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