Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor
To the Editor.—Medical writing should
be clear, simple, and unambiguous. In the article on aerosolized surfactant
by Dr Anzueto and colleagues,1 I was distressed
to see a new vocabulary formed by the addition of "-ility" to coin new words:
transportability, spinnability, comparability, and clearability. In most cases,
these shortcuts can be avoided by performing a literature search that will
lead to an appropriate word or phrase that already exists. This article contains
long words and phrases that may be considered "more scientific" but merely
lead to vagueness, ambiguity, or nonsense. For example, "Cohesiveness is the
thread-forming ability of mucus under the influence of large amplitude deformation,"
probably means, "Cohesiveness refers to mucus forming threads when mucus is
stretched." This practice is clearly becoming more common in medical writing.
Kissoon N. ‘Clear-ability' and Clarity in Medical Writing. JAMA. 1998;279(8):582-583. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-279-8-jbk0225