Much writing advice discourages big words. This advice is mostly geared towards new writers. New writers like to sound smart. And so they decorate their paragraphs with verbose cacophony that’s harder to decipher than a corporate apologia. But we know that people who are actually smart explain stuff with clouds, cats, dogs — the kind of symbolism even a dolt like me can understand. And so we’re told that simple language is best.

But there’s a difference between decorating your point with jargon and explaining with eloquence. And if we need to look up a word in a dictionary, is that the writer’s fault, or ours? What’s wrong with having a rich vocabulary?

Use as many big words as you want.

Just be honest about why you’re using them.

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