Wikivoyage:Words to avoid

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These are some words to avoid in our articles and listings. We avoid words that are exaggerations, vague or meaningless. We don't exaggerate the qualities of a destination or venue; instead we try to use explicit and precise statements where possible. We omit words and phrases that lack meaning for the traveller.

In general, the desired tone for an article is conversational and informative, lively but concise. Descriptions need to be fair and informative (even if they are sometimes subjective in nature) while avoiding hype suited to an "advertising brochure" for any business, city, or service. Quantitative statements (500 metres instead of near, 5-10 dollars instead of cheap, opened in 2024 instead of brand new) make text clearer. Claims which are true of any venue or merely point out the obvious are best omitted.

Where possible, we try to avoid specific words that have different interpretations in different parts of the world, or are not commonly understood. We want to add local colour to our guides in our distinctive style, but we don't want to confuse the traveller with ambiguity.

The words listed below are examples only, and are presented as general advice. "Words to avoid" does not mean "words that must never be used". Similarly, any word that isn't listed here, but has the same problems, should also be avoided. Ultimately the goal is to present basic data useful to the traveller while omitting promotional "fluff" which conveys no information.


See also: Wikivoyage:Trademarks

Some trademarks are used as generic product names. When you refer to a generic product and not the specific brand, prefer a generic name, such as ride hailing service instead of Uber. Some trademarks are so widely known that people forget that they are proprietary. For instance, Jeep is an automobile brand owned by Chrysler; prefer a generic phrase such as terrain vehicle.


affordable, cheap, reasonable
Affordable compared to sleeping on the street or in a five-star hotel? What's "reasonable" for a business traveller in London is a barbarous outrage for a backpacker in Thailand. Preferably give exact prices, or at least a price range.
an impressive lineup of products
Factually list what type or class of items are for sale in a marketplace, let the readers decide for themselves whether to be impressed.
...and much, much more
Usually tacked onto the end of a list of amenities, where it adds nothing of value and sounds like an advertisement. If there's something more that's important enough to be noted, note it—if not, end it here.
approved by TripAdvisor
Or Yelp. Or Facebook. Or X. Or any other random website which relies on user-supplied content instead of sending its staff out to inspect restaurants and hotels under established criteria.
Rarely used in English. Substitute "architectural" or "architecturally".
Or any similar superlative. Unless you've actually tried all the others, this is a presumptuous comparison. If available, use an objective measure, such as "Around 300,000 people climb Mount Fuji every year, more than any other mountain".
beautiful sunsets, cool breezes...
In individual local listings, not helpful nor informative as wind, sun and climate are similar across entire regions. Even Cité Soleil, the most miserable slum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, has sunshine. Make climate observations at the region or country level if there's something notable, such as the midnight sun in polar regions or the sun never setting on the British Empire. Laudatory but generic claims which could be made for any venue ("Pleasant breezes, popular sunset venue. Top place for river and sunset views.") are not worth making. If something's on the waterfront, say so, but don't claim one hotel has a regional monopoly on sunsets.
conveniently located, strategically located, privileged location, ideal location
Fluff. Just say where it is, and what it is close to—preferably metro stations etc, rather than attractions. Use "strategic" only in the context of military history.
currently, recently, today, now, this year
As Wikivoyage should be accessible for future readers, it is best to use terms like during 2024, since 2024, as of 2024 or whatever the current year might be. A related pitfall is announcing the "n'th annual edition" of a festival or event. "Come celebrate the 225th anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille next Monday" hopelessly dates an event listing in a way that "Bastille Day is celebrated annually in mid-July" does not.
Historic topics and itineraries are an exception; a comparison in the style "1843's Oregon Trail settlers caulked wagons, floating them across treacherous rivers; today a steel-and-concrete bridge carries an Interstate highway" is reasonable as the modern road will still be there next year.
decimetre, decametre or hectometre
Extremely uncommon. Use 10 cm for decimetre, 10 metres for decametre and 100 metres or 0.1 km for hectometres
Can cause confusion, meaning the main course or first course depending on where you are—choose another word.
Describe the factor of exclusion, whether it is $100 cover charge, months of advance booking required, or invitation only. A venue which is is totally off limits might not need to be mentioned.
Experiences that are exotic to someone are mundane to someone else. Clarify the point of view to the reader.
famous, well-known, renowned, award-winning
These are opinions; without knowing whose opinion is being expressed, they're of little use. Prefer a reliable measure, such as a UNESCO listing, or a national historic register. Likewise, if something is historic, explain why. It's not enough that a place merely be old; notability is established through archival or historical research. See also unique.
five-star service
Ambiguous. Does this mean an independent authority awarded five stars (if so, which one? there are many rating systems) or is this the establishment's opinion of their own product?
fully equipped
State what it is equipped with, rather than adding this promotional fluff.
Uncommon in English. If you are describing a course on the place of food in a culture or one that uses a rigorously academic approach in teaching how to make or understand good food, this word may fit. Otherwise, use "culinary", "cuisine", "cooking", or "food".
great for getaways
Any destination can bill itself as great for getaways and short stopovers; what makes this one different or unique?
Instead choose wording that makes clear whether it is a person (tour guide, tour leader, outfitter, tracker, interpreter etc), a written instruction (guidebook, manual), a hospitality website, audioguide, etc.
the hotspot for cool people
Vague and meaningless. If a venue "serves college students in their early twenties", "is frequented by businesspeople" (or whatever specific demographic), say so.
ideal, perfect, perfect choice
State precisely what makes it an ideal or perfect choice. Even if something is "perfect" for someone, someone else may dislike it.
in (city), minutes away from (another city)
Lists of adjacent cities belong in "go next"; if a town is a suburb of an adjacent city, the article introduction and "get in" sections will say so. No need to repeat the info in each listing.
is located in, is situated in
This is a long way of saying "is in".
lakhs, crores
Anyone outside Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Pakistan will have little to no idea of the Indian numbering system. As an alternative, use numerals instead (so 100,000 not one lakh)
look no further!
This is an absolute cliché of advertisers and marketers, but in a user-generated travel guide that encourages original research, it's presumptuous and ill-placed.
low(est) prices
Instead, provide the prices, or at least some examples of them. "This charming inn offers people travelling for business or pleasure fantastic room rates in a great location" could be claimed by any innkeeper; better to list specific rates, co-ordinates and contact info. Likewise, a claim that an item is "just €99.95" or "only a mere €99.99" is hype which injects the vendor's opinion of their own pricing; simply admit the item will set the voyager back "about €100" and be done with it.
luxurious, sumptuous, true luxury awaits business and leisure travellers
Empty, flowery language. Use a more concrete description instead: what part of the hotel/restaurant/etc. do you find luxurious? Are the curtains made of purple velvet? Is the ceiling painted with gilded murals? Does the venue provide personal valets?
This is meaningless hyperbole, much like "relaxing" or "romantic". Reserve the word for reference to mythology, or sleight-of-hand performances.
a Mecca of dining (etc)
Does that mean the BBQ pork and the bacon double cheeseburgers are off the menu? Restrict the word Mecca to the sacred city in Saudi Arabia, or for destinations with worldwide significance for some category of travellers.
millions of people visit...
They almost certainly do. But why? And why is that a positive thing? Do you really want to advertise noise, crowds and trash? If you use this phrase, follow it up with the reasons why people are visiting...
minutes away
How many minutes, on what transport and under what conditions? Distances are routinely underestimated by promoters of venues. Walking, driving or cycling times all vary depending on conditions, abilities and vehicles. Advice on conditions should be added if possible, e.g., "it's a steep uphill walk all the way", or "traffic is very congested during rush hours". Don't claim that Oshawa to Hamilton is "sixty minutes away" if it's 130km on congested Toronto motorways with posted 100km/h limits. Factually state accurate centre-to-centre road distances, or scheduled durations of rail, airline or ferry journeys. "15 minutes from X" can be anything from 1 km to 20+ km away depending on if you walk, drive or ride public transportation; adopt general aviation as a hobby and the sky's the limit.
more information can be found on a web site
Not helpful if one of the project goals is a printable destination guide to be carried while travelling or read offline. Include all key information here in the guide; don't use Wikivoyage as a web link directory.
most/some...but not all, usually...but not always
Why say it in four words, when you can just use one? "Most" and "some" mean "not all"; "usually" means "not always", so the extra words are usually (but not always) redundant.
is nearby, is steps away
Is that across the street, or in some random village in the next county? These, like pennies per day, deliberately avoid giving specific numbers — in this case, distances are wilfully omitted. If something actually is adjacent or directly across the street, say so. Some place three miles beyond the town line is "steps away" or just a short walk only if the traveller wants to hike for an extra hour... each way.
near downtown and main international airport
If a hotel is physically attached to Dorval Airport (or some similarly-sized international air terminal), it is not downtown. Major international airports in big cities are built in far-flung suburbs for a reason: their land requirements are huge. See Wikivoyage:Air travel information for writing about air travel.
near all major attractions
In hotel/motel listings, this is followed by a list of every landmark in a town, everything in the next town and a few points across the county line. (A similar tactic is listing the same motel in three or more different districts in the same city.) At some point, these become geographic impossibilities unless "near" is defined as "in the same country". Indicate the property's exact location and leave it at that.
your local neighbourhood merchant
Wikivoyage is intended for the voyager, not for locals. Wording like "Your Neighbourhood Brewery for locals, tourists and everyone in between brings a new and refreshing approach focusing on the retail customer experience!" says little. Describe locations (on downtown waterfront, in a suburban industrial park, wherever...) in a manner clear to someone from out of town – preferably with a proper street address, phone in international format and (lat, long) co-ordinates to generate a dynamic map marker.
new, the newest, the latest and greatest
As of what date? A place which was new when the listing was added doesn't remain new forever, yet the listing is in the article until removed. In some cases, time-sensitive info needs to be in the article for events which directly affect travel ("Fukushima was hit by a 2011 earthquake", "Los Angeles will host the 2028 Games", "As of 2003, Iraq is a war zone") but these are best used sparingly and dated so that they may be removed when outdated. Instead of newly established or recently opened, the opening year is more persistent information. Likewise, superlatives like "listed by Guinness as the biggest/tallest X in the world" may need to indicate the year, as someone will inevitably build something taller for next year's record books.
our / we / us
First-person pronouns are a dead giveaway that the listing is promotional and written by someone with a bias toward the subject. Travellers don't want to know what a hotel's proprietor thinks of the hotel; they want to know what other travellers think of it.
Utter hyperbole, unless they're going to meet their Maker.
Rarely used in English. Use "heritage" instead. "Legacy" might work in some contexts.
perfect for romantic getaways
As overused as "loves long walks on the beach" in personal ads (although we may want a "see" or "do" listing for the beach itself). Not helpful without an explanation of why this destination is more romantic than countless others.
the perfect gift
The term "gift" to describe items for sale is vague; "souvenir shop" (or a clear identifier of what's for sale) is more specific. The one exception may be "gift basket", where the giftwrap-style packaging (usually a basket arrangement of local foods or wines) is an integral part of the item.
per person, double occupancy
Confusing as the actual price is double that listed; if "£100 pp/double occ." means one room is actually £200, say so (£200/double).
png (in completely lowercase)
Does it mean Papua New Guinea or a png file? If mentioning the country capitalise the letters (so it'd be "PNG")
Used without context, it is a bandwagon argument, that does not warrant a good experience. Could be used in a broader description such as "[County Kerry] became a popular tourist attraction in the 19th century and is still very popular today, despite considerable rainfall." If a venue is overcrowded at times or an inordinate number of visitors have compromised the unique character of a sensitive site, say so.
premier, premium
Empty, flowery language. If a place or business is "first" in some sense, use that sense specifically. Otherwise, avoid this word.
According to whom? If this is used for a university with hundreds of years of published research, it is legit; if it is an owner's opinion of their own restaurant or hotel, it's useless.
Varies with English varieties. Make clear whether it is a coin purse, handbag, money bag or other.
recommended, suggested
If it weren't recommendable, we wouldn't list it in the first place. Simply add descriptive listings.
A word for very different vehicles. Make clear whether it is a light motorcycle, an electric scooter, a kickbike, or a mobility scooter.
Seems to be, might, possibly, could and other indicators of speculation
We don't deal in speculation — either verify that the situation is indeed so, or don't say so. There are exceptions (such as the "anything listed here may not still be standing" disclaimer in an active war zone) but these are rare.
severe penalties
$100 fine? Imprisonment? Death penalty? Be as specific as possible.
Prefer a wording which clarifies the vehicle type (shuttle van, shuttle bus, shuttle train etc) as well as cost and availability.
Used much too frequently of scenery which is likely to appeal to the visitor—as a marketing cliché, every vista is "breathtaking and stunning", every food item "mouthwatering and delicious", every accommodation "well-appointed and luxurious" to the point that this tells the voyager nothing. Could another adjective be used which conveys more of a specific sense of the place being described?
Use only for a stage with live performances. Use cinema, movie theatre or similar for film viewing venues.
Sounds unnatural to Anglophone ears. Use "tourist", "touristy", "for travelers", "for visitors", or "for tourists" as appropriate.
a tradition of service and hospitality
A traveller normally describes a place as it was at the time of their visit, without speculation as to whether the service might have been good in the historic past.
travellers should remember that..., it should be noted that..., be aware that...
Good thing we wrote it down in the guides, then.
This word has countless meanings in different dialects of English. If you have to use it or if it's the locally used term try giving a short explanation or an alternative term in brackets e.g. "the trolley (bus with overhead wires) is a good way to move around town"
typical food/typical dish
Atypical phrasing in English. Instead say, "local cuisine", "local specialty", "local food", "traditional food", "local dish". Substitute "regional" for "local" if applicable.
unique / unique for (kind of travellers)
Says nothing on its own. Use it in a statement what exactly makes it unique, such as Giant pandas live in the wild only in China or Vasa is the world's only preserved 17th-century warship.
walk to leading restaurants
Like "steps away", this deliberately omits distance. All it honestly tells the traveller is that there is no restaurant on-site. Please list restaurants (with their locations) under "Eat" if they're not part of a listed attraction or hotel.
well appointed
Hotel companies love to use this phrase; travellers are still trying to figure out what it means.

See also