Substitute Words List

University of Utah Health Sciences Center

Since health writing usually uses technical terms, it is helpful to the reader to use shorter words whenever possible. Here is a list of words that are commonly found in health literature. Using the substitute word instead of the technical word will help improve the readability of your material. Use this list of substitute words for difficult-to-understand, abstract terminology.


Quick Checklist for Plain Language

The Maximus Center for Health Literacy

This two-sided reference will help you check your print and web materials for plain language and formatting that helps readers find and understand key messages. Check your materials for Reader Focus, Organization, Writing, Design, and Formatting. The more items with checks, the more likely it will be that readers can understand and use the material. Tips for checking the language are also included.

Health Literacy Tool Shed

U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), in collaboration with Boston University School of Medicine

The Health Literacy Tool Shed is an online database of health literacy measures. The site contains information about measures, including their psychometric properties, based on a review of the peer-reviewed literature.