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Think about this: would a doctor use a giant pair of scissors to perform a gall bladder surgery just because the scissors are big, impressive, and used in ribbon cutting ceremonies? The answer to both questions is no, definitely not.
Another well-known person who is guilty of malapropisms in speech is former President George W. “Use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences.This can certainly set them apart but not always in a positive way.Talking to students and colleagues alike, everyone acknowledged the pressure to sound smart when asked to write or present, a source of anxiety that can span middle school, college, and even professional life. When a writer attempts to lengthen a sentence or paragraph to appear more intelligent, the reader will know.Shorter, more commonly used words are usually the most compelling.To learn how to become a better writer, the words you choose must add meaning.For example, “I am drawn to this work because it empowers others to make positive changes.”Can you pick out the repetition in this sentence?If you selected “very,” nice job, you’re very smart!A number of successful adults in various fields shared memories of a time when a professor told them, “Just tell me.” Or when a teacher handed back a graded paper dripping in red ink and containing the critique, “Too verbose! I know because it is obvious to me where a writer has attempted to add an additional clause or prepositional phrase.Long: The protesters congregated in an area near the vicinity of the school.These are words that a writer uses to get through a writing project, just like when a public speaker says “umm” to get through a speech.If you want to break yourself of a crutch word habit, employ the advice of Mark Twain, who famously said, “Substitute damn every time you’re inclined to write very; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”Not sure what your crutch word is yet?