Big Words In Our Writing – To Use or Not to Use?
A common question among writers is: Should I use big words in my writing?
The answer depends on the word and the importance of using it.
Is the word critical to your message (i.e., a technical term)? If so, is there a way you can define it? Unless your readers possess your expertise, most readers won’t know technical terms so they’ll be grateful when you define them.
If the word is not a technical term, that’s where we can get into some hot water.
Avoiding big words because you don’t think your readers will know them is like avoiding calling someone because you think they’re too busy. How do you know whether or not your readers know the words you want to use?
Even if you research your ideal client, you know where they hang out, and you listen to them talk, you’re only seeing a part of them. You’re not seeing all that they are capable of. Even when you get to interact with your ideal clients in a real-life setting, you still only get to see a part of who they are.
So, should we use big words in our writing?
Making assumptions about our readers’ intelligence is dangerous. While I disagree with “dumbing down” our writing by avoiding big words, I don’t think our writing should be filled with them. Too many difficult words in our writing negatively affect readability, clarity, and word flow.
Here’s another thing to consider:
Michael Masterson, a master copywriter and entrepreneur, has found that written documents with a Flesch-Kincaid Readability score of 7.5 or lower yield better results than documents written at a higher reading level.
So, when writing, take into consideration what will allow you to share a clear message with your readers. That’s what is most important.
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