18. Bureaucratese

Bureaucratese is an extreme form of English in which the objective is to make the pronouncements of the speaker or writer sound important by the deliberate choice of big words, bloated expressions, and "buzzwords", where small words in plain English do the job more accurately and efficiently in less space or time. Regrettably, it is the normal speech and writing of university administrators, and this influences all who listen to them. Do not use bureaucratese in your scientific manuscripts - it is your job to communicate your work to your readers in as few words as you reasonably can, not to make your work sound important.

1. Bureaucratese in the year 2000 has adopted and distorted the words "methodology" and "technology" to mean "methods" and "techniques" respectively. The word "methodology" really means "the study of methods", and the word "technology" really means "the study of techniques" but few bureaucrats can resist distorting the meaning of these words. Why? Because the words ending in -ogy are longer and "sound more important." The popular press has picked up and uses these distortions, so they will be hard to eradicate.

2. Bureaucratese does not use straightforward expressions "daily", "weekly", "monthly", and "yearly", but uses instead the bloated expressions "on a daily ... (etc.)... basis."

3. Bureaucratese cannot simply say that Something is..., but insists on saying or writing that Something presently is..., or Something at this time is... or even that Something at this point in time is... Why? Because it takes more words and sounds more important.

4. Bureaucratese uses the verb to utilize (utilize, utilized, utilization) because is sounds important, although regular English uses to use (use, used, use). In regular English, we would say or write "Joe used a bottle-opener to open his beer bottle" or, better (because shorter), "Joe opened his beer bottle with a bottle-opener." Bureaucrats would be tempted to write "Joe was enabled to open his beer bottle by utilization of a bottle-opener." The shortest of the expressions is the form to use in scientific English.

5. Bureaucrats like "buzzwords", and in the 1990s bureaucratese adopted the word impact as one of its buzzwords, although the Style Manual of the Council of Biological Editors has decried use of this word as jargon except to indicate the striking of one object on another. The word "effect" should be used instead in scientific writing.

There are legions of other examples of bureaucratese. They will not be listed here because you might notice them and use them in scientific writing. The bottom line is: in scientific writing, use the shortest expression you can think of, provided that it is accurate.