The Art of Using Big Words Properly

Originally published at:

Big words can really turn readers off if you don’t use them well. Find out how to slip them in seamlessly!


Fun bit of trivia, the image for this post was the very first time I drew who would later become the ShanniiWrites mascot, the Author!

Look how far she's come!

She’s my baby :sob:




Hard to believe I came up with the design almost 2 years ago!

Nice to know she’s drool-worthy :eyes:


“I find that I am also guilty of subconsciously turning to big words when I’m debating with someone who doesn’t seem to understand basic common sense . It’s a stuck-up, educated person’s way of saying “I know way more than you do. You’re beneath me.” It’s bad, I know. I need to work on it.”

I might be guilty of this too, subconsciously, but I do think sometimes “big” words describe certain situations with more nuance than a simplistic synonym could.

“ One of the reasons many people I know feel particularly apathetic about politics is because politicians make it seem like politics is above them, inaccessible to the “common people”, something that we can only pretend to understand. It’s a way of making sure they keep control: if they were too transparent with their language, we would quickly catch on to the shady crap that they’re up to and make sure we don’t vote for them again. They would have to make sure they’re actually doing well , God forbid!”
I disagree with this since the current American administration barely uses any $5 dollar words and yet somehow is able to conceal his shadiness from many people. But there definitely are many things at play here of course. Also i only think that because I’m a pinko lefty commie who prefers to have someone in office that I think is smart rather than just dumb enough to fail upwards haha

But I digress, I think there’s a lot of useful stuff in there that makes sense to think about when writing/editing!


This blog post was really interesting to see! The point at the end about making sure you understood the words really stood out to me because I have seen people do the opposite. Looking up a word in a thesaurus might make something sound more impressive, but a thesaurus also doesn’t tell you the whole story about the word’s connotation. While words do change over time, they tend to have a conventional usage and using words outside of that can make the piece harder to understand for everyone reading it. It was also interesting to see your commentary on people using large words to hide their meaning, since I’d never really thought about that before!

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So, @Bloggers, this is “today’s” one… Shani’s eighth blog post. Know that you don’t have to use a thesaurus on every single word See how to use bigger words and keep readers engaged.

Remember that if you really enjoyed this blog, feel free to recommend it (it’s similar to liking it). This will help with it being higher in the results of search engines too.


The problem I have with big words is that in many cases I don’t know the simpler words :sweat_smile: Because in school, they mostly taught us the big words and we had to use them in our essays. Now I’m slowly learning how to write in less difficult English. Nobody ever taught me how real native speakers speak English :joy: But I try to find easier words if I think I’m using too many of the big ones again


I don’t even do it subconsciously. I used to do it a lot, but I realized it was useless as most of the people I get into debates with don’t even understand the word with context.

I’ve never even considered people having to do this. Honestly, native English is whack. For instance, “but” along with “and” aren’t typically supposed to go at the beginning of a sentence, yet we use them constantly in the middle of our sentences. The best thing about the English language is that pronouns don’t affect verb conjugating.


this was a really interesting blog, it’s a topic i’m very interested about both as a non native english speaker and a (wannabe) philologist

before i start writing my thoughts on it, i want to address something that’s been brought up before

i have this same problem
it can be very hard to go for simpler words when the ones we know are not… that casual or anything
i’m lucky to have online friends now, so i can learn how to english more casually (yes that was on purpose)
not being a native speaker has a direct impact on how i use language
and because of that (and the fact that i’m a language nerd) i have some topics i want to bring up concerning this topic

first of all: i heavily agree with Shannii when she brings up understanding what a word means

please know what your word means and how you’re supposed to use it
i noticed this a lot when i was TA for a theatre course: when we were studying Aristotle a lot of people crammed greek terms in their essays to seem more smart without fully understanding them
too bad for them, i took ancient greek and i do know how to use them, so i was quick to call them out in their bs
i don’t know how often y’all have heard the discussion about style and substance, but in truth: those two need each other to exist
the substance influences the style and the style helps us interpret the substance
Marshall McLuhan, a canadian philosopher, proposes that (paraphrased bc i have it in spanish) the way you communicate something is the message
so if you try and communicate something through words you can’t quite grasp?
your message will be not be transmitted
also to quote Oscar Wilde (bc i live by his words)
“Truth is a matter of Style”
sometimes, prioritising style only serves to shine a brighter light on the lack of content

so for the love of everything that’s good in this planet
know what the words you’re using mean

now, one thing i have to disagree with is the usage of synonyms
my intro to literary studies prof made sure that this ended up engraved on my brain so i’m here to share: there is no such a thing as a perfect synonym
no two words mean exactly the same thing, that’s why there’s two different words for it! they convey different things, different vibes, if you can’t quite explain why two things aren’t the same
so if you’re sure your word conveys exactly what you wanna convey? if you know how to use it?
then use it, don’t settle for a “simpler” “synonym”, it won’t be the same and a part of your original intention will be lost there

lastly: thinking about your audience
ngl i rarely think about my audience when i write, and let me tell you that’s so freeing
i write primarily for myself, if anyone else happens to stumble upon what i write and enjoys it, that’s a bonus
but my main intention is always writing for myself, for an idea, i concept i have and want to explore and develop
so, instead of over or underestimating your audience i’d suggest to write what you wanna write
then, the audience that vibes with that piece will make themselves present overtime
use the words you want (and know you can use) and honestly? there’s no shame in being a lil pretentious from time to time
if it’s what you’re aiming for, don’t settle for less in hopes to please an imaginary audience

we never know who may read our stuff before publishing, so why should we assume anything about them in the writing process?


As a non english native speaker, there’s a limit when it comes to my vocabulary so I could hardly use any big words in writing. In school, they always encourage us to use boomastic words.

There are a lot of books that I tend to encounter an unfamiliar word for every page, or even every paragraph, although I can search the dictionary for the meanings, it decrease the enjoyment of me reading it,

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