I'm using the writer's workbench, which is a collection of tools that helps identifying errors in my writing.

One tool, 'Diction', tells me that the word "implement" shouldn't be used, and marks every use of this word ("implementation", "implementing", ...). The 'Suggest' tool tells me that I should probably use "carry out" for "implement", which doesn't make sense in most cases.

Is there a good reason why 'diction' discourages the use of "implement" in writing? What are good alternatives?

I should note that these tools are pretty old and language can change over time. Also English is my second language.

  • 1
    What is the context of implement? Surrounding sentences would help. – Nai54 Jan 20 at 16:06
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    It could be that you overused the word implement and once you change some of them, the alert would go away. I would also suggest going over your piece with a more modern tool like Grammarly and see if the discouragement of implement is common across both tools. – Joe Kerr Jan 20 at 16:11
  • The writer's workbench is quite simple. It takes these information from a database, as far as I know. This also happens when there is only one sentence that contains "implement" only once. – sirjofri Jan 20 at 18:22

Sounds to me that the tool you are using is being simplistic.

"Implement" as a verb means "to carry out" or "to begin". It is one of those words that writers often use because they want to use a big word rather than a short word to impress their readers with how smart they are because they know all these big words.

I recall once, I wrote a technical manual for a government agency, and I tried to make it as clear and easy to read as possible. Then they sent it to the agency's editors, who made changes like, everywhere I wrote "use" they replaced it with "utilize", to make it sound more pretentious.

So if you started out writing, "Our workers should carry out this plan", and then said to yourself, No, that doesn't sound pompous enough, and went back and changed it to, "The aforementioned personnel should implement this plan" ... don't do that. That's bad writing.

But there's nothing inherently wrong with the word "implement". If you called a portion of your plan, "Our Implementation Strategy", I wouldn't change it to, "Our Carrying-Out Strategy". That would just sound goofy. And if your first draft said, "The only implement available for the job was a large shovel", I certainly wouldn't change that to "The only carry out available for the job ..." (I'm suddenly reminded of the newspaper that instructed a junior editor to replace any occurrence of the word "black" in news stories with "African-American". And so he dutifully corrected a sentence to read, "The city council adopted a new austerity plan to get the budget back into the African-American.")

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    Made me laugh! Sorry I mean, incited amusement... ;) – Erk Jan 24 at 0:59

When "Implement" is used in sentences such as

We need to implement our policy as soon as feasible.

it is often a buzzword. It means no more than "carry out", or "put in place", or perhaps "start" but it sounds more precise. It may be that the tool is trying to discourage that sort of usage, which is often poor writing.

There may be times when this is exactly the tone desired, of course. When one is trying to imitate typical bureaucratese, for example.

And of course when "implement" is used to mean "tool" th issue is completely different.

  • So it is fine to write about "implementing a software" then? I have this quite often. Iirc I used the tool on the official Bell Labs papers and found the word only few times. I guess I'll also read them again and look specifically for alternatives. – sirjofri Jan 21 at 6:59
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    @sirjofri I think it is fine to use the word "implement" or "i8mplementing" when writing about software. However, i would say 'I9mplementign software" or "implementing a software package" or "implementing an application" not "implementing a software".. – David Siegel Jan 21 at 15:42

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