Orangeville, ON (Caroline Davis) Last week, exasperated by words or acronyms in my marketing reading that I didn’t know, I started a list. In one day, five expressions sent me to Google looking for their meaning:


FTW
nesh
umami
hygge
SMH

If you understand all five items – and believe I should have as well – please don’t feel superior. But, this should put you on alert that your own writing may shut out readers who would otherwise nod along with you. Worse, you may be signalling that you belong to a club that looks down on those not in the know.

Achieve more understandable writing with one simple move: Clue in your readers when you use new slang or acronyms. For instance, if you write “FTW” in a headline or subject line, write it out in your first paragraph: “.. and scored the only goal For The Win.”

Or, provide a context that allows readers to get your point without a definition. For example:

Did he really say that? SMH. I have to wonder about him.
If you are nesh, don’t visit Atikokan in the middle of winter.
My idea of hygge is a cup of hot cocoa with a chalet wrapped around it.