These are five stupid words

Must, necessary, crucial, essential, important…

These are words I don’t like.


These words are used to emphasize urgency – but then often without the urgency being properly highlighted.

For example:

The hygiene in refugee camp Moria must change.

It’s crucial that this insurance company increases its solvency.

It’s important to research side effects of medical cannabis use.

Can we do better?

If you want to convince people of what’s necessary or important, one question will help you further. What goes wrong if this doesn’t happen?

Describe that. And use enough words for it.

The alternative may look like this:

Camp Moria is home to 13,000 refugees and migrants. There is little soap, no hot water, one tap per 1,300 people and few toilets. As a result, many people suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, skin disorders and other infectious diseases.

In this way, you show that hygiene needs to improve, instead of saying so. And you explain why.

After that, you can always summarize with ‘So we must …’.