123ArticleOnline Logo
Welcome to 123ArticleOnline.com!

ALL >> Education >> View Article

The Potency Of Words Size Matters

By Author: Matthew Scott
Total Articles: 37

Did you ever notice that the most famous quotations use only small words?
"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
"A house divided against itself cannot stand."
"A government of the people, by the people, and for the people."
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country?"
"Mr. Gorbechev, tear down this wall!"
Not a big word among them. Now try to imagine if Winston Churchill's often-repeated rallying cry during World War II - we have nothing to offer but "blood, toil, tears and sweat" - were replaced with "erythrocytes, exertion, lacrimation and perspiration." Doesn't quite have the same ring, does it? And who'd remember that?
Most famous quotations are not full of poly-syllabic Latin or French words for a reason - they'll mark the author as a pompous blowhard, not an effective communicator.
According to author Ammon Shea, "We seem to be under the impression that a small vocabulary is one of those things, like bad teeth or poor manners, that can hold us back." That's why, she says, thousands of books and web sites, many of them commercially successful, promise to absolve us of the sin of a puny vocabulary.
Some of these books, like The Words You Should Know to Sound Smart, claim that learning such words "may even put some money in your pockets." That's just nonsense. If words could put money in my pockets I'd be a writer.
Oh wait. I am a writer.
Anyway, I'm not saying you shouldn't expand your vocabulary. It's always good to add new words to your arsenal, so you have just the right one for the right context. I also find that learning new words makes my life more interesting, and it may even make me more interesting. OK, maybe not.
Take the word "groak." It means staring at someone longingly, especially while they eat, perhaps with the hope he or she will give you some food. It may not reward you in any tangible sense, but you've got to admit, it's a cool word to know.
So, it's not simply the number of words you know, but how you use each one that's important. And it's not at all about impressing people, improving your professional prospects or building scholarly achievement.
Here's the point. Whether you're writing speeches, blogs, ads or white papers, the goal is to communicate as effectively as possible. You want people to remember the ideas or stories behind the words, not the fact that you used some $10 sesquipedalians (words with many syllables). Today, marketing folks would call it making your ideas "sticky" - a short and perfectly descriptive word with a new use.
Which brings me, unexpectedly, to Abraham Lincoln. With an Oscar-nominated movie and thousands of books about him, no one in American history is more famous. One reason, among many, is his gifts as a writer.
In the book Abraham Lincoln, The Biography of a Writer, the author Fred Kaplan explains that Lincoln knew how to interweave precise language, concise phrasing and logical tightness with a "personal voice that was sincere, colloquial, anecdotal, and humorous, projecting a persona of dignified but amiable authenticity."
In other words, Lincoln kept it short - even though Kaplan didn't.
That's why we remember Lincoln's words more than any other president's. He's the original American master of making ideas sticky.
"My dream is of a place and a time where American will once again be seen as the last best hope on earth." See, nice and simple. And no big words.

masterpapers rewiew

Total Views: 67Word Count: 585See All articles From Author

Education Articles

1. Insight Of The Key Benefits Of Corporate Training
Author: Multisoft

2. Which Are The Best Engineering Courses In India 2017?
Author: Mangalmay

3. Essay On Drug Crime Investigation
Author: jackson bird

4. Dyslexia Software Ready For Windows 10s - Ghotit Dyslexia
Author: 1888PressRelease

5. Fishy Things That Nobody Told You About Tax Accountant In Rockdale
Author: Austin Loader

6. Digital Marketing Training Institute In Chandigarh, Mohali India
Author: thinknext

7. Sap Online Training By Learn It Training
Author: Learn IT Training, Hyderabad Based Online Training

8. Prepare Your Child With Summer Tutoring Programs
Author: TAS New York

9. Engineers Have The Ability To Change The World
Author: ponting brown

10. Which Are The Best Engineering And Architecture Courses In The Construction Industry?
Author: NIBT

11. Past Responsive Webdesign: Tomorrows Technology
Author: Learn web designing course Bangalore, Infocampus i

12. Explore, Learn, Construct & Grow With Cept University
Author: cept university

13. Best Advice You Could Ever Get About Taking Online Classes
Author: Benjamin Williams

14. Numerical Simulation Of Flow Ower Flat - Sloped Stepped Spillway
Author: CPDLR

15. How To Improve Academic Performance: 5 Things You’re Forgetting To Do
Author: Todd Manning

Login To Account
Login Email:
Password:
Forgot Password?
New User?
Sign Up Newsletter
Email Address: