Cringeworthy Words to Cut from Online Copy

Nielsen Norman Group

“Summary: The right words can make or break trust; they affect your tone of voice and how people perceive your site.”


“Cringeworthy Words to Cut from Online Copy”
Nielsen Norman Group, January 17, 2016
Writing for the Web
By Hoa Loranger

Carefully chosen words can boost conversion, and empty ones can alienate users. The following words, expressions, and jargon make my top list of the most annoying and often meaningless terms that break trust and make scanning and comprehension difficult.


There are times when using a specialized word is the right choice, such as when you are speaking to an experienced audience or when the word conveys a special meaning in the context of your writing. Impressing your audience is not a legitimate reason for using a fancy word.

5 Words (and Phrases) to Avoid:

  1. Utilize
  2. Enables (allows you to …)
  3. Very (really, extremely, quite)
  4. We understand that… (In today’s fast-paced world…)
  5. End user

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