Image via WikipediaI hate to be told not to use fancy or long words in written communication. Even in blog posts. The old guards of the blogosphere say so every chance they get. Their admonition to fellow web authors about keeping your words short is getting to be a tad irritating already.
So much foul epithets are attributed to users of long words: pompous, stupid, stuffy, pretentious, and arrogant to name what immediately calls to mind.
I have no love lost either on writers who mistake long words for lofty thoughts. It’s not about that at all. It’s the stigma some proponents of brevity generally foist on writers who pen long, difficult words.
What? It will prove to be my readers’ ruination if I use long words now? Come on. Do you perhaps think the average blog reader is a retard? He will be scarred for life if a couple of daunting words are thrown his way?
Can he not be trusted to google the “offending” word? Can he not be relied upon to see for himself if the polysyllabic word is in fact used judiciously?
Yeah, right. He does not have the time. But you trust him to survive these things:
1. your brilliant lolcat posts
2. your stream-of-consciousness, free-association posts on the minutiae of your life
3. your consuming passion not with Jessica Alba, not with Johnny Depp, not with the enduring issues known to man, but your love for SEO. Is it not a little sick?
At the very least, you’re not afraid to put your readers to sleep with your treatises. It’s your heresy that the average reader’s brain cells numbering in the billions and still replicating can survive your spiel, but not a few choice long words. Yeah, right.
If you care about the language, don’t stop at clarity. Why start lining up long words to make them face the wall as if for some imagined offense when you can teach equally important writing concepts such as coherence? Or unity of thought. Or precision in writing.
So what if the word is long – if it’s the only precise word then go for it. Why settle for something short but tepid? Precision is the key.
What will happen to long words if our venerable gurus hold sway – do you have any idea? They will shrivel up their muscles in disuse. They’d haunt dark alleys and passageways. At best, they will become bewhiskered specimen in Wikipedia or encased in glass in some forlorn museums. Well then. In this blog, I welcome you all. Here you will not be persecuted. And that includes the longest word – non-coined and non-technical – in the English language: antidisestablishmentarianism. You’re one badass. I see you have edged Shakespeare’s honorificabilitudinitatibus for this distinction.
You’re all welcome. Make yourself at home.
I might not get to have use for all of you, but the best ones will have the honor to discombobulate these self-styled watchmen of the English language.
Recommended reading: Hangman, Spare That Word: The English Purge Their Language