Big Words Make You Seem Stupider

The consequence of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity is that you wind up sounding like a moron:

Everyone knows how college students will try to make themselves sound smarter by reaching for the thesaurus and using big, ponderous words they barely understand. But now a new study shows that readers can see through this. Daniel Oppenheimer, a psychologist at Princeton, took a handful of writing samples and used a thesaurus to replace the simple words with needlessly flowery ones.

... Oppenheimer gave all the writing samples — the original, simple ones and the modified, flowery ones — to 71 students to evaluate. The result? As the grandiosity and complexity of the language increased, the judges’ estimation of the intelligence of the authors decreased. Oppenheimer wrote up his results in a paper with the gorgeously ironic title “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly.”

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From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by \'\' fletchsliver.


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One can only wish that our superiors in government and industry would read and heed this. I get tired of fighting this battle over and over as a technical writer.

As one friend of mine put it, "When I was a technical writer we all strived to write as clearly and simply as possible – however – when the project managers would read it they were offended that bigger words were not used and more explanation (wordiness) was not conveyed. And they represented the customer so we of course did we as were told. So, the first rule of technical writing is that you rarely can please everyone."
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This sums it up: “When we’re children, we have small ideas and use small words, when we get a bit older we get big ideas and learn big words, but we never achieve true greatness until we learn to express big ideas in small words.” — Anon
You may also like my Writer's Log titled "It's not rocket science (or why jargon sucks) http://www.wordsontheweb.co.nz/writerslog.html
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Holy Carp, really?

Yo Skipdub, and all yer comment-"utilizing" posse, it's part of the joke. The Neatos are using unnecessarily dense language to convey the very premise of the post. Yeesh. Back to skool fo' all you fools.
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