I know what bogus means, but I don't know if it is appropriate to use it in certain formal contexts. Specifically, I'm working on a grant application and I found myself writing the following sentence.

Overall, little effort has been devoted to systematically tracking the distribution of certain variables across datasets. This has led to the formulation of a number of bogus generalizations.

Does this sound too inappropriate/informal/condescending/pejorative?

  • But what about the bogus use of "proper"? – John Lawler Apr 23 '15 at 14:13

The problem with "bogus" there is that it is a very imprecise word, and can often mean "I don't like it". For example, in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, the words "excellent" and "bogus" were used as antonyms of each other.

For a grant, I'd probably switch to something closer to the specific meaning you are going for, like perhaps "invalid" or "misleading".


Before "Bill and Ted," "bogus" was a perfectly acceptable word for "false." In the context of a formal statement or report, it will be recognized in its original form. (It's fine.)

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