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good medical writing is: avoid “fancy talk.”

This week’s advice for good medical writing is: avoid “fancy talk.”


. . .   “ology” refers to the study of something.  Thus, etiology, strictly is the study of cause and is not the cause.  So, “The etiology of diabetes is ……” is fancy talk.  Better: “The “cause of diabetes is …….”

       “The patient’s symptomatology was/were headache, fever, nausea.”  Better: “The patient’s symptoms were headache, fever, nausea.” 

        “The methodology used in this paper was/were . . .” Better: “The methods used in this paper were. . . “

        “Utilized” is overused.  Thus, “We utilized colonoscopy to examine the colon” should be, “We used colonoscopy to examine the colon.” 

         Authors often use fancy talk in an attempt to appear intellectually sophisticated. That’s a mistake.  

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