Clear Technical Writing
Simple Action

Use and Do

Simple verbs make writing clear.

They used my data.

Complex verbs risk the opposite.

They utilized my data.

The verb utilize is a complex version of the simple verb use. It can emphasize the importance of the use, and it can suggest using something in an effective way. When the extra meanings are not needed, stick with the simple verb.

When you do want to say something more complex, it is appropriate to use the more complex verb.

I was pleased to learn they utilized my data to prepare the winning proposal.

The same ideas apply to other synonyms for the simple verb use.

They used our radios.

They employed our radios.

The verb employ can emphasize the purpose of the use, and it can suggest a change from being idle to being active.

During the emergency, they employed our backup radios.

Consider the even shorter simple verb, do.

Be sure to do the work.

Be sure to perform the work.

The verb perform can emphasize the formality of the effort, and it can suggest meeting requirements as well as special skills.

Be sure to meet the terms of the contract as you perform the work on the building.

Another complex synonym is accomplish.

You must accomplish the work.

The verb accomplish emphasizes results more than effort, and it implies that something is brought to a conclusion.

You must accomplish that task before we continue the job.

Edit your writing by underlining verbs that may be unnecessarily complex.

We are now utilizing more resources. We thought we were performing better. Of course, we can employ a different approach. We will accomplish what is necessary.

Lesson: Use and Do
Module: Simple Action
Course: Clear Technical Writing