Keep an Eye on “Monitor”

Illustration of a stick figure about to chop an old computer monitor with an ax.

Because it’s our — err, we meant your — favorite kind of post, we’ve got another installment of our unofficial “use simpler words” series. On the chopping block this week: “monitor.”

Consider these somewhat vague statements:

  • We’ll be monitoring your blood pressure from now on.
  • Monitor your child’s fever to make sure it’s not getting higher.
  • Use this home kit to monitor your blood sugar.

Now take a look at these simpler, clearer, and more specific alternatives:

  • We’ll be checking your blood pressure regularly from now on.
  • Take your child’s temperature every hour to make sure her fever isn’t getting higher.
  • Use this home kit to test your blood sugar each day.

And there you have it, dear readers. The word “monitor” implies an ongoing action, but it doesn’t say anything about frequency. Your health information will be more useful and specific without it.

Plus you won’t run the risk of anyone thinking you’re talking about a computer screen. That’s what we call a win-win.

Bottom line: Be more specific and less confusing by retiring the word “monitor.”