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6 Things to eliminate cultural slang in English documents

Tips for writing or enhancing formal documents : From my personal observations.

English is a universal language and can vary quite a bit among different cultures. Here are a few styles that I have seen in documents written by Indian authors and some tips on make your document eliminate those cultural slangs.

Certain words are used more commonly in speaking where the body language of the speaker assists in conveying the real intention of the words usage. A tip would be write as you normally would and check for such common words and see if it is the right word for the sentence.

Examples below. 

Good: Check if the word good accurately describe the situation that you are trying to convey. It is common to use the term good, but it might not have the accuracy in conveying the message. E.g. with good training you might have meant that the training was intensive of fast paced or effective or thorough, however the reader will not get the same meaning. 

Small: Similar to the word good above.

Also:  Is a word used a lot in certain demography while speaking. Check if this word is really necessary in the sentence. 

The:  Is a word used a lot in certain demography while speaking. Check if this word is really necessary in the sentence.

Helping / assisting: e.g. I received some assistance in the work. Here since the writer was the one who was involved in the work, he/she knows the type of assistance received however the reader could take it in either way.  You could have received assistance in terms of guidance or effort. By guidance I mean how to do the work. By effort I mean since there was lot of work you received another helping hand and you probably even provided guidance to the helper in getting the task completed.

The same: Used a lot in India instead of "the (item, etc.) described above"


Some of the words are more due to usage differences in different cultures. E.g. The term company a lot in India instead of employer which is a more common and accepted usage in Australia.  

This is also evident sometimes in the way some ideas are written. Some cultures are not used to writing in a definitive way. One example is “I hope this experience gave me an insight into…” whereas the intention was to convey “This experience gave me an insight into…” the former sometimes written in a way of saying that I have the knowledge in a modest way. It is advised to be definitive in terms of what you are conveying. A yes, no or don’t know. 

Feel free to add your comments in case you have observed similar words or phrases and I can add to the list.


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