Monday, November 9, 2009

Don't Use Big Words

Slow news day. Well, honestly, there's plenty to write about, but it's taking me a little time to get my thoughts down, resize photos, and so on. Soon I'll have a few new local restaurant reviews for you, as well as a description of another favorite hiking trail.

Meanwhile, here's something for you to chew on, another see-lection from a favorite old book that I've mentioned to you before, Humorous Hits (bibliographic info is at the end). This one is attributed to "anonymous." I used to have a photocopy of it hanging in my office.

Please excuse any typos I might introduce! Also, I'm adding the italics at the end, as one of my predecessors with the book had underlined those words in pencil, no doubt to aid an oral recitation of this piece. And it is fun to read aloud; this dates to a time before radio, when folks entertained one another directly, using their own talents.

Don't Use Big Words

In promulgating your esoteric cogitations, or articulating your superficial sentimentalities and amicable, philosophical or psychological observations, beware of platitudinous ponderosity. Let your conversational communications possess a clarified conciseness, a compact comprehensibleness, coalescent consistency, and a concatenated cogency. Eschew all conglomerations of flatulent garrulity, jejune babblement and asinine affectations. Let your extemporaneous descantings and unpremeditated expatiations have intelligibility and veracious vivacity, without rhodomontade or thrasonical bombast. Sedulously avoid all polysyllabic profundity, pompous prolixity, psittaceous vacuity, ventriloquial verbosity, and vaniloquent vapidity. Shun double-entendres, purient jocosity, and pestiferous profanity, obscurant or apparent.

In other words, talk plainly, briefly, naturally, sensibly, truthfully, purely. Keep from "slang"; don't put on airs; say what you mean; mean what you say. And don't use big words!

From Grenville Kleiser, Humorous Hits and How to Hold an Audience: A Collection of Short Selections, Stories, and Sketches for All Occasions, 9th ed. (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1908), 163-64.

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