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Thread: big words?

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    keannu's Avatar
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    Default big words?

    Does "big words" mean "imbricate" or "having the edges overlapping.."? Depending on what it is, the whole paragraph will become quite different to readers. It's quite confusing!!!

    ex)One of the little understood paradoxes in communication is that the more difficult the word, the shorter the explanation. The more meaning you can pack into a single word, the fewer words are needed to get the idea across. Big words are resented by persons who don’t understand them and, of course, very often they are used to confuse and impress rather than clarify. But this is not the fault of language; it is the arrogance of the individual who misuses the tools of communication. The best reason for acquiring a large vocabulary is that it keeps you from being long-winded.
    A genuinely educated person can express himself tersely and trimly. For example, if you don’t know, or use, the word ‘imbricate,’ you have to say to someone, ‘having the edges overlapping in a regular arrangement like tiles on a roof, scales on a fish, or sepals on a plant.’ More than 20 words to say what can be said in one.

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    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: big words?

    Definition of big word noun from Cambridge Dictionary Online: Free English Dictionary and Thesaurus

    Big words are not necessarily long words. They're words that are not common in everyday speech, such as professional jargon or academic verbiage.

    The text says that these words are sometimes used by people just to sound smart and be pretentious even though there are perfectly good simpler words that can express the same idea.

    But at the same time, big words, because they express more complex ideas, allow more compact and more easily understandable communication. Instead of saying 20 words to explain something, you can use just one.

    For example: imbricate means ‘having the edges overlapping in a regular arrangement like tiles on a roof, scales on a fish, or sepals on a plant.

    So, instead of saying more than 20 words to express that idea, you can say just one big word -- imbricate. Imbricate is used as an example of a big word.

    I hope this is clear.

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    keannu's Avatar
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    Default Re: big words?

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    Definition of big word noun from Cambridge Dictionary Online: Free English Dictionary and Thesaurus

    Big words are not necessarily long words. They're words that are not common in everyday speech, such as professional jargon or academic verbiage.

    The text says that these words are sometimes used by people just to sound smart and be pretentious even though there are perfectly good simpler words that can express the same idea.

    But at the same time, big words, because they express more complex ideas, allow more compact and more easily understandable communication. Instead of saying 20 words to explain something, you can use just one.

    For example: imbricate means ‘having the edges overlapping in a regular arrangement like tiles on a roof, scales on a fish, or sepals on a plant.

    So, instead of saying more than 20 words to express that idea, you can say just one big word -- imbricate. Imbricate is used as an example of a big word.

    I hope this is clear.
    So, the text is criticizing big words and at the same time, complimenting its usefulness, right? I was trying to draw only one conclusion, but according to your explanation, it seems to be saying both the negative and positives aspects of big words. Thank you so much!

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    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: big words?

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    So, the text is criticizing big words and at the same time, complimenting its usefulness, right? I was trying to draw only one conclusion, but according to your explanation, it seems to be saying both the negative and positives aspects of big words. Thank you so much!
    It's saying that some people can use big words to confuse whoever they are talking to. They're making the other person feel stupid while making themselves feel superior.

    The text is not criticizing big words. It says that big words are good things.

    It is critical of people who use big words just to confuse others.

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