“Elucidate” is not a colloquial word, and it comes across as unnecessarily complicated or pretentious.
While I doubt that any one word will sink a given grant, people feel pretty strongly about “elucidate,” as I discovered on Twitter.
Avoid unnecessary jargon or “big words” (even if you love them).
“Elucidate” makes me think of a process — to shed light on something is to contribute to its greater understanding, even if you don’t have all the answers. ” To reasons: first, I worry it sounds too conversational. In a proposal, every extra word matters when it comes down to fitting into page limits.
As I type this, imagine a little angel and a little devil arguing above my shoulders.
The angel makes a reasonable argument: “Why use it you’re just going to alienate reviewers?
So, instead of discovering, I decided we were elucidating instead.
I immediately started second-guessing that choice, because “elucidate” is definitely a twenty-dollar word when a five-cent word works approximately as well, even if it’s not really the most accurate at conveying what I mean.
So far, 2015 has been the Year of Grants (which also makes it the Year of Grant Rejections, but that’s another post).
I’m collaborating on a proposal right now where I’m not the lead, so I’m a bit more self-conscious of my language choices than usual.
” The devil is a little stubborn, and a bit selfish: “Elucidate is a Both are correct, but neither are sitting on a DEB panel come fall.
Like most early career researchers, I’ve combed through blog posts and books, and sat in on seminars full of grant-writing tips.
I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid, and I worked in bookstores throughout my late teens and early 20’s to pay for my habit.
I play Scrabble, and I collect vocabulary the way some of my colleagues collect bird sightings or rocks. I often joke about the fact that became a scientist in large part because of all the awesome words (sverdrupribozome, hysteresis…).