We’ve all read something that was so full of convoluted words and confusing sentence structures that we knew it had to be written by someone very smart; it was clearly over our heads.
What was REALLY happening is that we were victims of a writer using inflated language.
A reader should never be made to feel as though he is not intelligent enough to understand something; a writer should be able to write something in clear, easy-to-understand terminology. Writing is about communicating your thoughts, not about trying to prove how smart you are.
Some inflated language has started to spill into everyday life. I’ve already talked about how there are no used car salesmen left in the country (Pre-Owned Car Salesman), but there are myriad examples, which can be humorous when making something simple sound complicated.
I recently saw a paper bag from a fast-food restaurant that was made out of post-consumer material. Apparently, the word recycled is too simple and accurate for today’s French fry (can we say that now that Obama is president, or do we still call them Freedom fries?) connoisseurs.
This change wasn’t made for the consumer since I doubt that there is one person in this country who would not buy French fries because they were delivered in a recycled paper bag; it was done because someone, somewhere, decided that the more complicated phrase sounded more intelligent.
Remember, you will be taken more seriously as a writer and speaker if you speak directly and succinctly.