When I was a kid writing essays for school, I always peppered my writing with big, fancy words in places that small, simple words would do. In part, I was showing off my big vocabulary to my teachers. For the most part, though, I was afraid to use the small, simple words because I thought of them as childish. I figured that small, simple words would make my writing seem small (as in insignificant) and simple (as in simplistic) as well. Of course, now I see that as folly. An argument that is simply stated is easier to understand, and thus more convincing, than one delivered in showy, but less comprehensible, language. While there are some glorious, complex words that I would never want to do without—incarnadine, mellifluous, loquacious, raconteur, elixir, donnybrook—I would never want an argument I write to hinge upon them.
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