I am not a native speaker of English, and I'm having a problem at work regarding the word "shortened". I used this word to express that our new product can now load XXX much faster than the previous model:

Shortened time to load XXX

I received feedback from other people (also non-native speakers of English), who say that this expression contains a "negative meaning". Is that true?

3 Answers 3


Your colleagues are wrong. People do not like waiting for programs to load and start. Progress bars are much hated, partly because of their unreliability but also because waiting while a file downloads or a program starts or a video finishes buffering is often a tiresome and depressing experience.

The verb shorten is semantically neutral and has no negative connotations by default. Shorten a pleasurable experience and people will regret it. Shorten a painful one and they will thank you. On your presentation, the use of this phrase is a win.

Perhaps your colleagues are confused because the adjective short can be seen as an insult, or at least a way of diminishing a person´s importance, when applied to their stature.

Use the phrase. It is well chosen.

  • More idiomatic would be 'faster time', or, if true, 'greatly reduced time'. Dec 10, 2014 at 11:23
  • The first one might be more positive - I don´t personally see it as better, just an alternative. As you say, the second requires justification. I don´t have that data so I am just answering the question.
    – itsbruce
    Dec 10, 2014 at 11:27
  • I'm saying it's more idiomatic (ie used more often). This is my perception; these Google Ngrams support this belief. Dec 10, 2014 at 11:35
  • So it doesn't have any negative image! I'm very happy to know your detailed comment about my question. So, I will not change this word in the Power Point. Thank you very much, indeed.
    – user100634
    Dec 10, 2014 at 12:37
  • Do spell it ¨shortened¨ ;)
    – itsbruce
    Dec 10, 2014 at 12:44

Actually, you've provided your own answer.

People have been conditioned to consider the relationship between time and computer software in terms of speed ("fast") versus duration ("short").

So when you "express that [your] new product can now load XXX much faster," then that's exactly how software users expect to have an upgrade presented to them. For example, you could say something like "Our new product loads 30% faster!"

Although a "shortened" load time is technically correct and expressing it in terms of duration is accurate, that's not the point. The point is employing verbiage that resonates with your software user base. Use the words they expect you to use; the words that mean the most to them.


Shortened brings into play a negative, making one immediately picture your product as perhaps being too slow in the first place. A forward looking expression might be "With exceptionally fast load times".

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