So Basic

Basis is, basically, bad. Why, you ask? It’s one of those words that lawyers love to use, but one that renders their prose flabby and verbose. Instead of on a temporary/permanent/daily/whatever basis, just write temporarily, permanently, daily etc. While adverbs are not a hallmark of vigorous prose, a single word is better than four.

A related word is based: Where are you based?, people ask; I’m based in Toronto. Doesn’t this sound affected? Why can’t it just be live? Perhaps based sounds more cosmopolitan and jet-setty (put another way, pretentious)?

More along the lines of basis are manner and fashion. Only a lawyer would ask for a memo to be delivered in a timely manner (promptly or even soon would be plainer and better). And in an orderly fashion? Please trim the fat and just say something like in order, neatly, regularly …

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)

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