Use of Language

Use of Language

How a writer makes use of language within their writing must help brand them. For example, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist uses much different language than a writer of popular fiction. Or dear I add, a romance writer like myself.

But is there any true gauge of which writing is “better”? Although many would say yes, and unhesitatingly assign any popular fiction, and especially romantic fiction, to the lowest rung of whatever ladder being used to test the ability of that written piece, I don’t believe there is. Every writer struggles to find a niche where their writing fits and comfortably belongs. If writing is in its correct genre/field then it should only be tested against like writing. The clique highlighting the inability of comparing an apple and a pear became a clique because of it’s truth.

There is so much snobbery around the use of language. Why, is any body’s guess. Some wordsmiths appear to feel the need to yell from the roof tops to share how intelligent they are. How able they are at the use of language many of us would feel uncomfortable using and often don’t even understand.But stuffing their inflated writing with high sounding words and an grandiloquent style does nothing to attract me to their work. Who can enjoy reading something when a dictionary may be needed beside you? Who has the time to decipher each word before the content of the writing emerges? Not me, my time is too precious.

An article by Peter Calder in today’s NZ Herald has prompted this post. Although his article concentrates on the silliness of the high highfalutin language used in a couple of commercial responses recently, I love that he’s pointed out a piece of advice from one of the greatest writers ever. “Never use a long word where a short one will do.”


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