Terms to watch out for

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effectiveness, efficacy

effectiveness: capacity of an agent to achieve a specific outcome in practice (ie under ‘real world’ conditions)

efficacy: a measure of the probablility and intensity of beneficial effects under ideal conditions – for example, the ability of a therapeutic agent to improve a health outcome in a clinical trial

embryo, fetus

embryo: a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development. In humans, this includes the developmental stages up to the end of the 7th week, after which the embryo is called a fetus

fetus: a developing vertebrate after the embryonic stage and before birth

enhance, improve, increase

Enhance should generally be avoided because it can have several meanings (improve, increase or intensify) and therefore can lead to ambiguity

The plan was reviewed and improved to meet stakeholder expectations.
The plan was reviewed and enhanced to meet stakeholder expectations.


The program increases Australia’s capability to detect emerging diseases.
The program enhances Australia’s capability to detect emerging diseases.

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Australian manual of scientific style Start communicating effectively