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Course Outline: Appropriate Language Usage

Course content: This module will train the learner in using appropriate language when writing formal, semi formal or informal documents such as proposals, cover letters, presentations, emails, agreements, manuals, etc.  Specific examples will be discussed based on the learner’s needs.

In writing it is very important to use language that fits:

a.     The target audience and

b.    the purpose you want to achieve.

This module covers the following major issues concerning appropriate language use:

1.    Levels of formality;

2.    Using gender-fair pronouns;

3.  Biased or stereotypical language

4.    Slang or idiomatic expressions;

5.    Discipline or group-specific jargon;

6.    Deceiving language and Euphemisms.

Note, each session is independent and therefore may be taken in any sequence or they may be taken as individual sessions.



Language Skills


Levels of Formality

When writing the level of formality used should be determined by the expectations of your audience and the purpose of your writing.

In this lesson you will be introduced to the various Levels of Formality: Formal, Semi-Formal, Informal.


Using Gender-Fair Pronouns

English has no generic (or common sex) pronoun, as a result we often use He, His and Him in generic expressions.

In this lesson we will discuss alternative approaches to using masculine pronouns which tend to exclude women.


Biased or Stereotypical Language

Biased language often occurs with gender, but it can also offend people based on race, sexual preferences, ethnicity, political orientation or specific interests.

In this lesson we will discuss ways to avoid using language that is stereotypical or biased.


Slang or Idiomatic Expressions

Slang or idiomatic expressions should be avoided in formal writing. However, there are cases when it is appropriate to use them.

In this lesson we will analyze various cases and discuss when it is appropriate or not to use these expressions.


Discipline or Group-Specific Jargon

The use of Group-Jargon should be limited to specific situations.

In this lesson we will discuss when it is appropriate or not appropriate to use Jargons and the advantages and disadvantages.


Deceiving Language and Euphemisms

In this lesson we will cover how to avoid using Deceiving, Complex or Confusing language.

Euphemisms are vague, mild, indirect, misleading  terms that tend to replace a more direct, harsh or offensive term. They attempt to cover up something that is wrong or unethical (not accepted by the general opinion).

Course Outline Copyright © English Ranch