Jargon Caveat

I noticed recently that I used the word “caveat” two or three times during a workshop. It bothered me and on reflection I realised it was because I was assuming everyone in the room (typically a mix of people from all over the world) would know the meaning. They might get from context I was pointing out an exception to a point I had just made, but caveat is not a word used in everyday speech.

I’ve decided I’ll use it more sparingly from now on. “Exception” will do just fine.

Every academic discipline or field has jargon: the words which are part of the secret language of the area. Sometimes they’re a shorthand for clarity, but they only work if everyone understands the meaning. It’s not impossible to use jargon and misunderstand it yourself!

Be sure that you have a good grasp on the secret words of your field. Make sure your audience, examiners or otherwise, will understand you.

Make sure you know what the words mean.

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