Usage and Grammar

Q. I’m editing a business document that explains how to use an advertising report. The word geographies is used as a noun and as a synonym for regions. For example, “Identify geographies that yield better results.” The dictionary doesn’t help. In general, how can an editor determine if a jargon word is a good candidate for a company style guide, or if the word is simply silly and should be replaced?

A. Much of the time, a nonspecialist editor should not decide. Instead, query. You can ask, “OK to replace geographies with regions, or is geographies the current industry lingo?” (It’s best to resist phrases like “simply silly.”)