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Thread: Ostentatious Words

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    tWebber
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    Ostentatious Words

    I was advised to avoid (or minimize?) such words in my writing. So this advice left me wondering...

    What is are the good reasons for using ostentatious words?

    Should broad vocabulary be limited when in non-fiction writing?

    I don't think I was trying to be showy. In early drafts, I may just use the word that comes to mind at the moment.

    What experiences do other people have about use of these words?

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    I think it often comes across as pretentious or grandiloquence*.



    *did ya see whut I did thar?

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    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    I tend to use them without even trying to. Sometimes I'll use a word and not even realize it's not a commonly known word and it's embarrassing.
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Totally depends on your audience.

    If you're writing for the scholarly types who have been educated far beyond their intelligence, then ostentate away!

    If you want to actually communicate, where people more easily grasp what you're trying to convey, KISS.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  5. Amen Bill the Cat amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Ronson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhitney View Post
    I was advised to avoid (or minimize?) such words in my writing. So this advice left me wondering...

    What is are the good reasons for using ostentatious words?

    Should broad vocabulary be limited when in non-fiction writing?

    I don't think I was trying to be showy. In early drafts, I may just use the word that comes to mind at the moment.

    What experiences do other people have about use of these words?
    I love it when people dig deep into their vocabularies. I learn from it.

  7. Amen NorrinRadd, Cerebrum123 amen'd this post.
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    Thread Killer QuantaFille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    I tend to use them without even trying to. Sometimes I'll use a word and not even realize it's not a commonly known word and it's embarrassing.
    You shouldn't be. The people who have tiny vocabularies should be embarrassed.
    Curiosity never hurt anyone. It was stupidity that killed the cat.

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    Thread Killer QuantaFille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhitney View Post
    I was advised to avoid (or minimize?) such words in my writing. So this advice left me wondering...

    What is are the good reasons for using ostentatious words?

    Should broad vocabulary be limited when in non-fiction writing?

    I don't think I was trying to be showy. In early drafts, I may just use the word that comes to mind at the moment.

    What experiences do other people have about use of these words?
    If a word precisely conveys what you want to say, use it. If you make people use a dictionary once in a while, that's a good thing.
    Curiosity never hurt anyone. It was stupidity that killed the cat.

  10. Amen Ronson amen'd this post.
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    tWebber NorrinRadd's Avatar
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    For me, it depends on the winds of my whims. Sometimes I intentionally affect an oral conversational tone when I write. Sometimes I look for ways to employ the "Pittsburghese" of my region, even though I don't really talk that way. Sometimes I write with big words because I like the way they sound in my head.

    My favorite thing, I s'pose, is to freely intermingle simple and conversational with erudite and even obscure.
    Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

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    "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

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    tWebber
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    I don't think there's anything wrong with someone showing off their fancy book learning. More important that the writing is clear and straightforward. Too often writers will use big words to obscure their actual meaning and make it harder for anyone to criticize their ideas. But if the meaning is easier to understand with a more elegant word choice, then use it.

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    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    Also, there's a reason I don't read First Things.
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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