21 Harsh tips from the Greats #2

2. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass. -David Ogilvy

Also: Never utilize overly cumbersome words when diminutive ones will suffice. Can’t remember where I heard that, but I love it. I’ve always sort of thought jargon words were a sign of a lack of confidence- very “razzle dazzle ’em” sort of tactic. Granted, some of us have large vocabularies, and sometimes sesquipedalian is the best word for what you’re trying to say- but what does it matter how perfect the word is if no one knows what you mean by it? I think “splurgle” is by far the best word for describing that terrible feeling in your stomach when you know someone is watching you from the base of the darkened garage stairs, but how many of you thought that right away? Obscure words are often in the same boat as made up ones.

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4 thoughts on “21 Harsh tips from the Greats #2

  1. English is not my mother tongue so becoming too fancy or pretentious is not a problem. I’m rather too plain and simple, and I struggle with nuances and accuracy because of my limited vocabulary. Dictionaries are great! But quite often the word they suggest does not ‘feel’ right because it’s unfamiliar to me and not one I’d naturally use.

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    • I remember what that was like. When I was younger, I spoke primarily Spanish, and I used to just sit and read parts of the dictionary like leisure reading. That was years and year ago, though, and I feel pretty well adjusted to English. I know it’s not quite the same to be ESL as an adult.

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