Pearson Adult Learning Centre Home
Pearson Adult Learning Centre
 
          
 
  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (June 5, 2007)
 


Avoid Fancy Words!

 "Avoid 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 The 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 use.

 

See our most recent tips.

Tips from November 2001 to April 2002

Tips from September 2000 to October 2001.

Tips from January to August 2000
Tips from January to December 1999

 

Visit our Contact Us page to send email to the centre.
Copyright © 1997 to 2009 Pearson Adult Learning Centre, New Westminster School District 40
Web Site Created by The Educated Web
Last modified: July 31, 2009