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Empty Vessels Make The Most Noise

Remember the military acronym "KISS"?

Keep It Simple,Stupid.

There's nothing stupid about simplicity.

The most elegant solutions are often the simplest.

The essence of language is communication.

If you're using five-dollar words where nickel and dime ones are perfectly adequate,you're hampering communication with language.

If you're doing that,you deserve to have your "essence" kicked...

notdarcy notdarcy 41-45, M 40 Responses May 18, 2009

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Simple is always good. i enjoy the flourish of a good word, well placed, at the right time :)

alphabet soup!

Ironically enough,I prefer Faulkner any day of the week.<br />
But the point is well made.

I think it was Hemingway who said:<br />
<br />
"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"

i "nod" at your reply, ND<br />
<br />
while checking my mail, i read a quote in a newsletter which made me think of this story<br />
<br />
"Better than a thousand useless words is one word that gives peace."<br />
<br />
- Buddha<br />
<br />
not 100% relevant in meaning, but i thought it was a neat little coincidence

"Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis"?? That hurts my eyes just trying to read it.<br />
<br />
El, ND has got you on the quote ropes! :D

Socrates1984 : "antiDISestablishmentarianism - opposition to the disestablishment of the Church of England" (I'll see your Webster's and raise you the Oxford English Dictionary). If I use a word,I know what it means. Oh,and it doesn't have most syllables either - that distinction goes to "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" if we're confining ourselves to English.<br />
Not wishing to be unkind,Socrates1984,but your post serves only to support my thesis! I know - I read it!<br />
Nyxie - We're on the same page on this one! <br />
ElLagarto - So are you,although if Churchill did say that,he was ripping off Blaise Pascal!

Nicely put, Nyx. I often remind clients of this lovely Churchill quote, "If I'd had more time I'd have written a shorter letter." Simplicity, clarity, and elegance are the hallmarks of communication at its best. Conversely, using $5 words when nickel & dime words will suffice is the practice of a person more interested in calling attention to himself than making his point, (think William F. Buckley). However, there are times when the so-called $5 word is precisely the one which serves best, and nails an idea most succinctly. To avoid using it in cases like that is what I call, "pretentiously unpretentious". Please forgive my platitudinous perambulations.

Talk about keeping it simple....<br><br />
<br><br />
NotDarcy certainly doesn't need me to redefine or defend his original point for him, but I am compelled to address the fact that some of those who have commented on his story have missed his point.<br><br />
<br><br />
Polysyllabic or complex words, when used correctly and in proper context, are often the only means through which to communicate a more thorough understanding of a written piece for a reader/listener. Struggling to use a shorter word to appear less pretentious when a larger one is clearly better and more informative to your point is as ludicrous as intentionally using a larger word (or, more irritatingly, unnavigable clots of them) to make it appear that you are more intelligent/clever/talented (choose whichever one fits). I do not believe that NotDarcy's intent was to embrace one approach over the other; it was my understanding that he feels, as I do, that stating something through strings of unnecessarily complicated terms does not make the writer seem more talented or intelligent, merely absurdly insecure...and serves only to detract from his/her content rather than support it.

There are some people who are annoyed at the use of "big" words - as you put it - and accuse the person<br />
of not knowing the meaning of these "big" words,when<br />
in fact,their irritation is due to their deficient lexion.I agree that there will be occassions where brevity may be convenient,however,I assert that a mixture of the simple and complex words,using as many synonyms as <br />
possible,makes for vibrant and interesting reading,and<br />
assists in retaining a comprehensive vocabulary.<br />
Moreover,there are -as you should be aware - "complex" words such as "conversely"that can substitute for the following four simple words:On the other hand.I enjoy learning the meaning of words that<br />
do not know meaning of,and would not use such words,<br />
because any one with an extensive lexion,would know <br />
that I was being pretentious.Finally,as far as I am aware, the word "anti-establishmentarianism" has the <br />
most syllables.<br />
PS:The folowing are two corrected paragraphs from the Introduction og Mark Roget's Thesaurus (Classsic<br />
American Editionn)<br />
<br />
It is of the utmost consequence that accuracy should regulate our use of language, and that everyone should acquire the capacity and discipline to express their thoughts with perspicuity and exactitude. Few, indeed, can appreciate the extent and importance of the influence which language has always exercised on human affairs, or can be aware how often these are determined by causes much slighter than are apparent to a superficial observer. A sophistry, disguised under specious phraseology, too often gains the assent of the unthinking multitude, disseminating far and wide the seeds of prejudice and error. Truisms pass current, and wear the semblance of profound wisdom, when clothed in tinsel garb of antithetical phrases, or set off by an imposing pomp of paradox. By a confused jargon of involved and mystical sentences, the imagination is easily inveigled into a transcendental region of clouds and the ignorant beguiled into the belief that they are acquiring knowledge and approaching truth. A misapplied or misapprehended term is sufficient to engender fierce and interminable disputes, a misnomer has repudiated popular opinion, a verbal sophism has decided a party question; an artful watchword, thrown among combustible materials, has kindled the flame of deadly warfare, and diverted the destiny of an empire.<br />
<br />
The rapid advances that are being made in scientific knowledge and consequent improvements in all the arts of life, and the extension of those arts and sciences to so many new purposes and ob<x>jects, create a continual demand for the formation of new terms of ex<x>pression, agencies, wants, and combinations. Such terms, from initially being merely technical are rendered, by more general use, familiar to the multitude, and having a defined acceptation, are eventually incorporated into the language, to enlarge and enrich. Neologies of this species are valid, and advantageous; and they necessarily introduce those gradual and progressive changes which every language is destined to undergo. Some modern writers, however, have indulged in arbitrarily fabricating new words, new-fangled phraseology, needlessly, thus diluting the purity of the language. This activity, the offspring of indolence or conceit, implies ignorance, or neglect of the abundance and richness of the English language, and which would have supplied them with words of acknowledged legitimacy, communicating precisely the same meaning as those they so carelessly invent with expediency and indifference, according to their fancy.

But at the end of the day a work of art is priceless.. and no words can describe its beauty... I think its just personal preference.. you either like it with the hot sauce or you don't. Lets think about this for a moment though and get creative, do you want to see your woman in fancy lingerie or in a T-shirt sporting a sexy grin? Both can be very appealing and a work of art.

What a fantastic post. This is soo true. We over complicate everything.

Well, you're only as Jung as you feel.

I was aFreud you'd say that.

Id-iosynchratic, at the very least.


Does that make me an Id - iot? :-)

oh you rascal, Subconscious :P

Not this time,Naomi - at least,not intentionally.<br />
My subconscious,of course,may have a mind of it's own.<br />
Catch me in a certain mood and no entendre goes un-doubled.<br />
Can't resist those puns...

it's a good thing you put that in quotations. i thought maybe it was a dirty joke until i googled it <br />

Nah,you get more of a mouthful if they're whole...<br />
"Never mind the quality - feel the width!"

well make sure you break them into little pieces before you toss them in, at least<br />

What can I tell you,Naomi?<br />
When notdarcy cooks,he really cooks!

those words would absorb the mix!

ExMichigander,those are for beginners!<br />
Give me a call when you see me casually dropping "antidisestablishmentarianism" or "floccinaucinihilipilification" into the mix...

the following big words were used in this story: <br />
acronym,<br />
simplicity.<br />
elegant.<br />
essence, <br />
communication,<br />
adequate,<br />
<br />

Just based on the stories I've browsed in my time here, I'd say that's a definite

Thanks,Naomi.<br />
I meant it when I said I was sorry,though.<br />
This post was about puncturing the pomposity of the verbose,not wounding fellow lovers of language.<br />
I suppose there is no such thing as an emotionally neutral post,is there?<br />
Every subject raises passion in somebody...

haha! yeah that would be ironic<br />
<br />
~i think you make a great point about "hampering communication with language"

I'm sorry to see somebody found this post made them "sad". <br />
I hope it's because they misunderstood.<br />
However ironic that might be.

and it gives me a reason to kick some "essence," which is a plus :)

I wasn't suggesting doing away with any word,joysjrny. Nor indeed telling artists their business. Regular readers of my posts (if there are any!) will encounter the occasional polysyllabic...<br />
To extend your artist's palette analogy,it's not about restricting your style,but stripping away inessentials. A few shades skillfully applied will have more effect than somebody flinging a rainbow at their canvas (apologies to Jackson Pollock aficionados,for I do not number myself among them).<br />
That's why I prefer Turner to Jeff Koons by several orders of magnitude...

I agree with Nyxie!<br />
Brevity is good where appropriate.<br />
But sometimes the word that correctly identifies what one wishes to express just happens to be a long one.<br />
I only enjoy obfuscation when someone is deliberately trying to sound intelligent by using large inappropriate words. Once they realise their error I stop.<br />
<br />
You guys all sound fairly intelligent with the using good words thing but.<br />
Did that sound stupid?<br />
Warped humour here...

In communication, brevity is best; however, the occasional polysyllabic word, with proper and judicious use, can be rather hot. I mean, come on...slip a "lugubrious," "intransigent," or "obstreperous" into a sentence and some of us word nerds will follow you anywhere!

true economy of words speaks volumes.<br />
i love 5 dollar words, though. lol--"eschew obfuscation"--cute, no?

With the greatest of pleasure - steel toecaps optional! :-P

hehe <br />
can i be the designated "essence"- kicker?

As evidenced by your clear and unpretentious missives here on EP, ND.

I try.

Shakespeare had it right when he said, "Brevity is the soul of wit." Words to live...and