Watch your words: Online tool alerts you to any potential offensive language

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — You may not even realize that certain phrases or words you use in emails or correspondence at work may not be appropriate, and that is the reason behind a tool, called “Writer” — created by May Habib.

“The way that we communicate is really always changing, but the language we use at work shapes the culture very profoundly,” Habib said. “Good words equals good culture.”

“Writer,” is a Google Chrome extension you can have right at your cursor that alerts you of any offensive language while you are typing.

The past year and a half with social movements, COVID and folks moving to remote work, has all really accelerated her business, which only started in 2020.

Major companies use the tool to analyze and correct their language to make sure it is free of bias, intended or otherwise. Anybody can use it to help correct language that is passive-aggressive or just simply negative.

Here are some key phrases to avoid:

“It’s kind of scary just how quickly passive aggressive things can fly off our fingertips. If you write something like, ‘that’s your job,’ or ‘what exactly is the problem,’ how about, ‘As I said before’ — very subtle, not nice thing to say at work. “We will remind you and give you corrections, suggestions for more polite language.”

We asked her for a few other examples that get flagged by writer quite regularly — the word “elderly.” It has harmful ageist connotations. Use “older person” or “senior adult” instead.

The word “exotic.” She said it has racist undertones, so stay away from that one at work.

And “man hours.” Avoid that one, as there are not just men working.

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