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50 Big "Fancy" Words and Their Simpler Alternative Word(s)

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This post is about simplifying complex words and a guide to easier communication, to promote clearer and more accessible communication. While using the "big grammar" might be suitable for certain scenarios in most other cases it is unnecessary as such words can make understanding more difficult for your listeners thereby defeating the goal of effective communication.

Language is a powerful tool for communication, but sometimes, the complexity of certain words can create barriers rather than bridges. In professional and academic settings, there's often a preference for big, complex words, but these can be confusing or off-putting for some audiences.

students having a chitchat
students having a chitchat

Commonly used 'big' grammar words and their simpler alternatives

  1. Ascertain = Find out
  2. Disclose = Reveal
  3. Utilize = Use
  4. Facilitate = Help
  5. Obtain = Get
  6. Commence = Begin/Start
  7. Conduct = Carry out
  8. Implement = Put in place/Do
  9. Accomplish = Achieve
  10. Perceive = See/Understand
  11. Consequence = Result
  12. Enhance = Improve
  13. Terminate = End/Stop
  14. Substantiate = Prove
  15. Ameliorate = Improve/Make better
  16. Manifest = Show
  17. Consolidate = Combine/Unite
  18. Precipitate = Cause
  19. Exacerbate = Worsen
  20. Disseminate = Spread/Distribute
  21. Enumerate = List/Count
  22. Innovate = Create/Invent
  23. Rectify = Correct/Fix
  24. Elucidate = Explain
  25. Mitigate = Reduce/Lessen
  26. Culminate = End/Peak
  27. Initiate = Start/Begin
  28. Proliferate = Spread/Increase
  29. Expedite = Speed up
  30. Consensus = Agreement
  31. Fluctuate = Vary/Change
  32. Assimilate = Absorb/Adopt
  33. Deteriorate = Worsen/Decline
  34. Augment = Increase/Add to
  35. Subsequent = Next/Following
  36. Compensate = Pay/Make up for
  37. Authenticate = Verify/Prove
  38. Fabricate = Make up/Construct
  39. Incentivize = Motivate/Encourage
  40. Incur = Suffer/Get
  41. Predominant = Main/Leading
  42. Inadvertent = Unintentional/Accidental
  43. Comprehensive = Thorough/Complete
  44. Arbitrary = Random/Chance
  45. Incongruous = Out of place/Not fitting
  46. Plausible = Believable/Possible
  47. Deleterious = Harmful/Damaging
  48. Ubiquitous = Everywhere/Common
  49. Irrevocable = Permanent/Final
  50. Equivocate = Dodge/Avoid saying directly

Why Simplify Your Usage of Words?

Simplifying language can make your message more accessible to a wider audience. It's not about 'dumbing down' your communication; it's about making it more inclusive. This is particularly important in today's global environment, where your audience might include non-native English speakers or individuals from different educational backgrounds.

The Right Word for the Right Audience

It's essential to consider your audience when choosing your words. In some contexts, the more complex word might be necessary or expected. However, in most everyday situations, simpler words can make your communication more effective.

Recommended: How to be a Top Performing Student in your class


Effective communication is about getting your message across clearly and effectively. Sometimes, this means choosing simpler words over their more complex counterparts. By doing so, you're not only making your language more accessible but also ensuring that your message is understood by the widest possible audience.

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