The plain-language movement is not isolated to legal circles, journalists are trying to eradicate overly-florid language as well.

Last week, one of The Hill‘s senior editors sent the following memo to staffers regarding proper usage of commonly misused words.

From: Hugo Gurdon
Sent: Thu, 17 Apr 2008 10:42:42
Subject: good usage

I need to repeat some guidelines.

Please use:

“before” rather than “prior to”

“supports” rather than “is supportive of”

“attended” rather than “was in attendance at”

“for” instead of “in favor of”

“lunch” instead of “luncheon”

“senior” or “leading” instead of “top”

Avoid “upcoming” and “potential” and “current.” They are usually
redundant. There are several unhappy examples in today’s paper.

Thanks, Hugo

Agree with most of these except where “before” may be repetitive, I’ll usually substitute “prior to” just to lessen the monotony. Also, to my mind, a “luncheon” connotes a formal lunch–usually accompanied by a speaker of some kind–which is a very different concept than a mere “lunch.”

Thx to FishBowl DC