Is Writing all about using the tough words & grammar?

31 replies
Hi,

Standing on a land of foreign language is not that easy. Plus, I'm not an avid learner too; I make many mistakes while writing an article.

However, I'm positive that I can become a striking writer.

The thing which puzzles me sometimes while learning English is, Is it necessary to use tough grammar & tough words in your writing for becoming a good writer?

I'm asking this question because I've seen many elite websites that use the tough grammar and words, they attract traffic too, but as a new learner I feel they are not relaxing with their given message.

I am probably wrong?

On the other hand, I've seen many blogs with simple language patterns and beautiful words. Their writing exudes a warm rapport and influence your mind.

Their language crawl inside your mind and compel you to take action again and again.

Probably, that's why they have a great number of followers too?

In my mother tongue, it's essential to use tough words and hard language patterns if you want to become a good writer.

But with English, I feel that the rules are changed. The simple words, and the simple grammar patterns, are the most powerful, and the most beautiful.

Strange language?

I know here are many great writers. I just want to know what should I do for improving my writing?

Are tough words, and tough grammar rules, essential for becoming a striking writer?

Thank you!
#grammar #tough #words #writing
  • Profile picture of the author andynathan
    Chris,

    The English language is what you make of it. The reality is that you will have to find your own style. Grammar is important, but more important is that your words make sense to your readers.

    When you write you are a detective investigating the thoughts of your readers. You think about what makes them tick. How can you exact a response? How can you motivate them?

    Grammar helps you do this by providing the structure, but you must find the path that works for your readers and you. Do not worry about being hard and soft. Instead, worry about making an impact with your writing.

    Imagine your ideal outcome. Now, look at your writing. Do you believe that will happen from what you wrote. If the answer is no, then keep working.
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    • Profile picture of the author jamescanz
      Is Writing all about using the tough words & grammar?

      I would definitely say no. I used to absolutely hate writing ...

      My belief was that you actually HAD to use all the big words and what not.

      Do they help? Of course.

      My best recommendation is to figure out a 'writing style' that works with you.

      I lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve writing in short choppy sentences.

      I love telling stories, being transparent, and making recomendations. (<== and misspelling words )

      The point I am getting at is that there is more to writing than just words & grammar.

      Do what works for you

      Also, a great piece of info a coach gave me once was:

      "Speak to your audience as if they were an intelligent 4th grader"

      (might have been 3rd grader, or even 5th grader ... but you get the idea)
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  • Profile picture of the author Freddie Worrall
    Hey Chris,

    I'd say that when writing in English it's very easy to express genuine knowledge, ideas and concepts when you have a full understanding of them. This in it's self is very powerful. When you're writing, of course, grammar is important but what really matters, in my mind, is that you have a firm grasp of what you've chosen to write about.

    Also when you're writing, who are you writing for? Are they people that are like-minded to you? If so then maybe you should write entirely naturally or 'as though you'd speak it'. I find this a great way of writing because it put's people on a level with you, sometimes I feel as though people using big words and being overly concerned with grammar and appearance lose something important - their connection with the reader.

    If what your saying really holds true value and is really going to further someones understanding of a subject then they're not going to be that bothered if you've accidentally written 'there' instead of 'their' in a couple of places or whatever other grammatical errors you make.

    I guess what i'm saying is as long is the content is there, it's good, it's understandable and it holds true value for the reader then people will not get too caught up about these things!

    I hope this helps,

    Kind regards and best of luck for the future,

    Freddie Worrall :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author trevord92
    I write as simply as I can - face to face conversations have shown me when people's faces glaze over if I get too technical!

    Most of my writing is fairly chatty - as though I was explaining it to a friend.

    And although I might know the tough words, I don't use them as I'd need to look up their meaning or most of my audience would.
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  • Profile picture of the author FreeMeal
    If you are trying to communicate with your reader, you want to make that message as clear as possible. Unless you're a master of the English language, I would avoid trying to make your writing overly elaborate -- it wont read well.

    Instead, aim to write in a simple and concise manner. Strip out all those unnecessary words and turns of phrase, and your voice will come across much stronger.
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  • Profile picture of the author cashcow
    It's not about using big words, it's about using the right words and, in order to do that, you have to know a lot of words and what they mean.
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    • Profile picture of the author jakejoh10
      You've gotten some great answers already.

      Writing is about making a connection with your reader. If they don't feel a connection, then there is no desire for them to keep reading.

      So, of course it is not all about using tough words; it's about making some kind of connection, no matter what kind of words you use (although grammar is important, because tons of mistakes could hurt your credibility).

      Jake
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  • Profile picture of the author rajeevsh
    No, it's not. Grammar, yes; heavy words where you can avoid them, no.

    The only thing you should be concerned about is being able to communicate your message to the reader. You don't need to be superfluous at all. There are very few writers who can strike a chord with their readers and, in my opinion, that's a far more important quality to have.

    Good writing is a lot more than just being sophisticated in your choice of words. I think it was Blaise Pascal who said "The letter I have written today is longer than usual because I lacked the time to make it shorter". That's a great quote, I think. Being clear and concise takes time and it's one of the most important qualities of a good writer.

    The one thing that will help you write better is reading more, and reading people who write really well. :-)

    (Though, to be honest, my grammar isn't very good either.)
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    The trick is to know your audience. Your post is on the formal side. That's not necessary here. Good writers speak to the people who read their stuff. That is likely to be different for each piece you write. Before writing try and get a picture of the typical reader who will want to read the work.

    Here's an example. I noticed you used a semicolon. And you used it correctly. Congratulations. One of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, claims to have never used one as they are "clunky" and misunderstood, I think he said. They tend to throw many readers off track. I've written several million words in the last 10 years and have probably used three of them. Most readers have no idea what that punctuation means or where to use it.

    There are a couple of informal writing tips that sort of dwell in my mind like ghosts. When you write imagine you're writing to a good friend. That adds enthusiasm and makes it interesting. Also, write every sentence so the reader has a strong desire to read the next sentence. If you can do that you'll become an excellent writer regardless of what your native language might be. If you stay with it you'll actually turn into a writer who does these things naturally. Good luck.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Coutts
      Keep your words simple. Develop a hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, or at least a dislike of them.

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    • Profile picture of the author Sandra Martinez
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post


      Here's an example. I noticed you used a semicolon. And you used it correctly. Congratulations. One of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, claims to have never used one as they are "clunky" and misunderstood, I think he said. They tend to throw many readers off track. I've written several million words in the last 10 years and have probably used three of them. Most readers have no idea what that punctuation means or where to use it.
      How interesting! This is the first time I see an apposition in English. I thought they were forbidden or something...

      @Chris
      English has some wonderful surprises and some very tricky paths, for those of us who learn it as a second (or third, or...) language.

      One of the things that is both beautiful and tricky is the duplicity of meaning it allows. A typical example is:

      "The doctor made the robot fast while she ate."

      Did this lady build a robot in a hurry with a salami sandwich in her hand? or let the thing standing while she ate?

      We donĀ“t have this in Latin languages, there is no way to play with the language like this.

      About the main question, whether you need strong and sounding words or not. As Charles said, it depends on your audience. Communication goes in many levels, and the English language allows you to wrap messages, emotions, intentions, and make a bundle.

      If you use sounding words, you will get a "strong language", maybe ego oriented audience. If you play with the words in lower keys, you will be able to attract more sensitive people.

      Of course.. English is not my home language, so I might be wrong.
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      • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
        Originally Posted by Sandra Martinez View Post

        How interesting! This is the first time I see an apposition in English. I thought they were forbidden or something...
        Here's the extent of my writing brilliance: I had to look up apposition.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Chris Lengley View Post

    I'm positive that I can become a striking writer.
    I think so, too. And "striking" is a good sort of writer to become.

    Originally Posted by Chris Lengley View Post

    Is it necessary to use tough grammar & tough words in your writing for becoming a good writer?
    I think it probably isn't.

    I confess I do tend to do that, myself. I do it consciously and deliberately, but only because I'm trying to appeal to a particular traffic demographic comprising people who consider themselves highly educated and literate. They often like that, and are actually going to be impressed by the occasional word/construction with which they're not very familiar, and it keeps them reading. So I'm kind of "playing to the gallery" a little bit, sometimes, and for my specific demographic that can be worthwhile. But generally I'd say "no": it isn't needed, and it probably isn't advisable.

    I've occasionally wondered, from your posts, whether English might possibly be your second language, but I've never quite known until I saw this post. I think most people here, if they're honest, would be really surprised that it is. And I strongly suspect that you already do a lot better than you give yourself credit for!

    Originally Posted by Chris Lengley View Post

    Strange language?
    Indeed!

    But to someone like yourself, obviously intelligent, educated and analytical, I suspect that learning it as a second language can actually have some "advantages over the natives". And people like yourself are perhaps evidence of that.

    You have nothing to worry about at all, regarding your use of English, or your developing writing abilities!
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Chris Lengley View Post

    On the other hand, I've seen many blogs with simple language patterns and beautiful words. Their writing exudes a warm rapport and influence your mind.

    Their language crawl inside your mind and compel you to take action again and again.

    Probably, that's why they have a great number of followers too?

    ...snip...

    ... The simple words, and the simple grammar patterns, are the most powerful, and the most beautiful.

    Strange language?
    This sounds quite striking to me. When you attain this, you have power in your pen.

    Originally Posted by Chris Lengley View Post

    I know here are many great writers. I just want to know what should I do for improving my writing?

    Are tough words, and tough grammar rules, essential for becoming a striking writer?

    Thank you!
    Often, it's quite the opposite. Many writers hide behind big words and complex sentence structure to hide the fact that they have very little to say. Or, as one of my Texas pals likes to say,

    "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit...":p

    Chris, you're doing fine. Other than an occasional odd construction, I'd have never guessed that English wasn't your milk language. Keep trying to do what the bloggers you described in your OP do, and you'll be in great shape...
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    • Profile picture of the author robestrong
      Google does take into account a certain reading level, but it also checks the upper limit of readability as well. Regardless, it doesn't affect your rankings by a lot. The key is to be readable. I've read some horribly written articles -- readability is really what you need to aim for.
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  • Profile picture of the author raffman999
    With any type of writing it's about appealing to your target audience, and that means style and structure as well subject matter.
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  • Profile picture of the author Soulstreak
    I wont write some long paragraph for you to read, but I will tell you that sometimes simplicity is what people are looking for.

    (For the grammar police, I know that using the word 'for' at the end of a sentence is not the best way do it. But who are you to judge?)
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    • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
      Originally Posted by Soulstreak View Post

      I wont write some long paragraph for you to read, but I will tell you that sometimes simplicity is what people are looking for.

      (For the grammar police, I know that using the word 'for' at the end of a sentence is not the best way do it. But who are you to judge?)
      I think it's fine, especially in the context of this discussion.
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  • Profile picture of the author Broyde
    Chris, words are only containers that are used to carry thoughts. Once you get the contents of the container to where you need them to go, who cares about the container.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Reminds me of a poem I learned in grade school:

    Don't Use Big Words

    Next time, 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 compacted 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
    rodomontade or thrasonical bombast. Sedulously avoid all
    polysyllabic profundity, pompous prolixity, psittaceous vacuity
    ventriloquial verbosity, and vaniloquent vapidity. Shun
    double-entendres, prurient jocosity, and pestiferous profanity,
    obscurant or apparent.

    So in essence, let the simplicity of your vocabulary be
    prominently eminent.

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Lengley
      Originally Posted by drunkenmonkey View Post

      That's abuse of the English Language.
      Is that Abuse or mis-abuse?
      What is abuse? and what is mis-abuse/misabuse?..how many definitions of abuse are there Gammar Nazi's?....
      When is misabuse not abuse and when is abuse misabuse?
      They are two dumbass words.
      Anyone who can give me the answer wins a Goldfish.

      Well, Drunken Monkey, good question.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

    Good writing is about communicating with your reader. Never use a big word when a little one will do. The one thing all good writers have in common is they are voracious readers.
    The only thing i'm voracious about reading is my bank statements.

    You have to have a passion about writing... copywriting in my opinion is stimulating, and when i read pieces from Gary Halbert, Dan Kennedy, John Carlton, and Jeff Paul... their pieces inspire me more.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sushiman1111
    After having read through this thread, I'm compelled to give some advice. Mainly because I'm the only guy who seems to know what the hell he's about in this area.

    Chris, I teach English as a second language for a living. I've done this for over 20 years now. My degree is in linguistics (unlike a lot of other "teachers" around here that I could name), so I actually am a specialist in this field.

    Also, I have studied Japanese to the extent that I was an interpreter/translator for a major Japanese company for 3 or 4 years. So I know the other side of the coin as well.

    Your English is great for a non-native speaker. But I will tell you bluntly: if I were you, I would spend my time learning marketing and concentrating on the non-language side of things. The reason being that if you are not a native speaker, it doesn't matter how hard you study or how great your skill becomes, you will never be in a position to be absolutely SURE that you're saying things correctly. And the second reason being, it's easy to just hire someone who IS a native speaker to write your copy for you.

    I know a few (very few) people who have the linguistic talent and dedication to sound virtually native when they talk with someone in a second language. I don't know of any who are able to write at that level. Not even one. It's simply a different skill, and not one that you should beat yourself up over. After all, there are plenty of native speakers around who can't write a decent paragraph, much less hit the psychological buttons in the way necessary to make someone click on a "buy" button.

    Sorry if this seems harsh or defeatist. It's not meant to be. Just trying to save you some trouble and give you a different viewpoint.
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  • Profile picture of the author jlcs
    Imperfect is kind of unique too.
    As long as not much grammar mistake and has your own style in your writing.
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  • Profile picture of the author drbrucehoag
    Hi Chris,

    This is a great question!

    Culture influences all of us more than we realize.

    I've lived in three very different countries, and visited many others. And I can tell you that all of them have different ways of thinking, and writing, about practically everything.


    I have done a lot of non-fiction writing in different genres, and I can tell you that the single most important thing that you need to think about when you write is your audience.

    Who will read what you write?

    If you're writing for 8-12 year olds, then the words you use will be different than if you're writing for an academic publication, or for the WF.

    The best way that I know of to get a feel for the style is by reading what your audience reads; and keep on reading it until you can clearly identify the differences between the way you write and the style that your audiences connects with.

    When you've figured out that, then practice writing in that style.

    It will feel strange at first. But you have to overcome that feeling and just do it, because if you don't, then your audience - the ones you want to reach - won't read it.

    I hope that helps you.

    Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author minimalseo
    "Simplicity is the highest sophistication"
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    "Be water, my friend" - Bruce Lee

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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Lengley
      Thank you all so much! That's very encouraging.

      It means I should water down my negative instincts and become more positive with my writing.
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  • Profile picture of the author nicholasb
    yo uhave to use words most people can understand or your writing wont be as effective, yo ucan really get a point across if most of the population has no idea what your talking about.
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