Have you ever felt the need to use big, long words to sound more authoritative or to fill up space?¬† In most situations, all you are doing is sounding more difficult to read.¬† Your writing should be as simple and easy-flowing as possible.
This is a problem our manuscript editors often encounter: ¬†sesquipedalian words where a simple word would do.
Let’s look at three very common words that are overused and should be replaced with simpler ones.
UTILIZE.¬† Wow, just three syllables to replace one. Honestly, have you ever heard anyone utilize this word in normal conversation, like at in the stands at the ball game or over a mid-week lunch?
“Hey, dude.¬† Wait up.¬† I just need to go utilize the washroom.”
“He just wanted me for my money.¬† I feel so utilized.”
“It’s easy to choose a password, but all the best utilizer names are already taken.”
Yes, there is a much simpler word to use: use.¬† And “use” is a fine word, even if it doesn’t sound pretentious.
Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious!
If you say it loud enough, you’ll always sound precocious “
PURCHASE.¬† More pretentiousness, perhaps?¬† I go out to buy things, not to purchase them.¬† How about you?¬† Why do we need an extra syllable?¬† Because a lot of advertisers think you will spend more money if they sound more educated an fancy?¬† Or because they want to avoid you feeling like you are being pressured into buying things.¬† So instead they pressure you into purchasing things.
Phew – that’s a relief.
ACQUIRE. This is the word that inspired this article, after I read the following message that somebody posted on the Warrior Forum :
In one of my titles, I had a confusion of whether to use “get customers” or “acquire customers”.
The former is simple but the later looks more sophisticated.
Google Search Says:
“acquire customers” 283,000 results
“get customers” 1,500,000 results!
So now the choice is obvious. I don’t want to look sophisticated. I just want to CONNECT with the readers with the right titles.
“Acquire” is another laughable word that people just don’t use in normal conversation.¬† Can you imagine…
“Please, Daddy, can I acquire another candy.”
“The phone is ringing.¬† Can somebody please acquire the phone?”
“I need to acquire some new light bulbs.¬† This one is burnt and I’ve run out of replacements.”
Whether you are writing a book or a blog post, you want to connect with your readers.¬† And unless you are writing a sales page for an expand-your-vocabulary course, it is almost always the simpler word.¬† Or put more bluntly, the world with the least syllables.¬†¬† The smaller word, not the littler word.
by David Leonhardt
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