fancy words. Avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, the coy, and
the cute. Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is
a ten-center handy, ready and able. " —from
Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.
In keeping with our discussion of
persuasion and propaganda last week, I recalled some classic
advice from The Elements of Style. Trying to impress with
vocabulary can easily backfire! Every month or so a student uses a
word that requires that I use a dictionary. Since my vocabulary is
extensive, it's usually a sign of getting too "fancy" and trying
to be "pretentious."
Ask yourself this question: Have I
seen the word before and often? If you have, it should be safe to
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