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Write the Right Word: Quality

Avoid using “quality” when describing or modifying a noun. Despite the way it is being used, it’s not a substitute for words such as “good,” “great” or “fine.”

Quality also can be bad, poor or mediocre. So if someone says, “I just saw a quality performance,” you really don’t know anything about the performance.

When we communicate with our audiences, we need to be concise, but we also need to be clear. So the next time you think of using “quality” to modify a noun, remember, it needs its own modifier. For example: “We want to have high-quality health care.” Or this: “The drought resulted in a poor-quality wheat crop in parts of the state.”

“Quality” as a noun doesn’t need a modifier. For example, “I question the quality of this gadget.” Or this: “The reviewer offered his opinion on the play’s quality.”

, Information Specialist, 701-231-5391

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