Does using BIG words make you sound smart?

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in the same way when a misused big word has the opposite effect of making you sound smart!

pedantic!
  • Profile picture of the author Thomas
    Originally Posted by Seleyna View Post

    Re: Does using BIG words make you sound smart?!
    Indubitably!
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    I is a smart.

    Nope, big words didn't make me sound smart.
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    • Profile picture of the author Sabrina178
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      I is a smart.

      Nope, big words didn't make me sound smart.

      You nailed it.
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    • Profile picture of the author KenThompson
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      I is a smart.

      Nope, big words didn't make me sound smart.
      me too! ain't bipedal cool? how 'bout that opposable thumb?


      Ken
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    • Profile picture of the author myeanne
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      I is a smart.

      Nope, big words didn't make me sound smart.


      LOL. You are freakin' right!
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    • Profile picture of the author hireava
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      I is a smart.

      Nope, big words didn't make me sound smart.

      you can use big words if the user has a eye promblem. lol
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      I is a smart.

      Nope, big words didn't make me sound smart.
      It is also an incomplete sentence! Who is "I"? They are a smart what?



      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        They are a smart what?
        I think that is inferred...

        Woe is I.
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        • Profile picture of the author seasoned
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

          I think that is inferred...

          Woe is I.
          Well, a makes it a noun, and smart would be an adjective, so....

          You DO almost want to say a.. ! As for I, usually it is a pronoun referring to the speaker, but "is" indicates it is a proper noun. Maybe we could give it the meaning of kurt, since he spoke and that would usually be what "I" means. And what does THAT say?

          Steve
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          • Profile picture of the author Mike Wright
            Woe am I.
            Woe is Me.

            Grammar .... not Grammer

            Yet more divergences between UK and US English?
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  • Profile picture of the author whateverpedia
    For the most part it makes you sound like a smartarse, but not necessarily smart.
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  • Profile picture of the author deep12
    Using big words dosen't count a lot. What matters is doing big things.
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  • Profile picture of the author sparckyz
    I use big words all the time to baffle and bewilder lol
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  • Profile picture of the author DianeBrandt
    Yes of course, but I never use them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Wright
      Generally, they are largely misunderestimated and misused.

      Mind you, I hate people who say things like negatory instead of no .
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
    I have, a few times, had people ask me to stop using "big words" in casual conversations. The funny thing is that I didn't think they were that big. My goal is to communicate my thoughts as clearly as possible. English is notorious for having subtle shades of meaning between words, that's why we have thesauruses (thesauri?).

    So, I simply try to use the word that conveys* the right meaning, whether it's "big" or not isn't important. That being said, what really counts is being understood. If "big" words keep the other person from understanding, then it's best to use simpler terms at the risk of sacrificing a bit of clarity.

    On the other hand, I would rather start by using the best choice of words, and assume the other person has a fair vocabulary. I don't use words that are so big that most people won't know them.

    Is it better to assume the other person has equal or better than yourself, and speak the way you wish? Or, is it better to assume they are of lesser intelligence and intentionally dumb it down? I know what my vote is.

    All the best,
    Michael


    *This is a good example. I could have used the word "express", but I felt that only requires one person. It's possible to express your feeling to a wall. But when you convey something, it requires another person...someone to receive and understand the conveyance.
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Words are symbols for ideas. Once you know a word, you will use it automatically when it best supports the idea you mean to represent, just as we use any word in our vocabulary.

    Those who have limited vocabularies often view those who don't as pedantic, condescending snobs and that is not the usual case. Some people may use a word to sound more intelligent here and again, but once that word is in their vocabulary awhile, they will use it automatically to describe an idea so even when its use is originally for esteem or status, eventually it's just another idea label. The only thing these people are guilty of is understanding that esteem is attached to education and wanting to fit in with the "thinkers" in society. We ALL want to fit into to some specific area of society and will do things that will get us "in the door" with those groups.

    I would rather see people learning words to gain status than not use them at all. Complex thought processes are very greatly aided as vocabularies increase, so have at it - use the 14 syllable word and show off all you want, in the long run it's good for you - even if you mess up on one or two of em here or there. Always keep learning.
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

      Words are symbols for ideas. Once you know a word, you will use it automatically when it best supports the idea you mean to represent, just as we use any word in our vocabulary.

      Those who have limited vocabularies often view those who don't as pedantic, condescending snobs and that is not the usual case. Some people may use a word to sound more intelligent here and again, but once that word is in their vocabulary awhile, they will use it automatically to describe an idea so even when its use is originally for esteem or status, eventually it's just another idea label. The only thing these people are guilty of is understanding that esteem is attached to education and wanting to fit in with the "thinkers" in society. We ALL want to fit into to some specific area of society and will do things that will get us "in the door" with those groups.

      I would rather see people learning words to gain status than not use them at all. Complex thought processes are very greatly aided as vocabularies increase, so have at it - use the 14 syllable word and show off all you want, in the long run it's good for you - even if you mess up on one or two of em here or there. Always keep learning.
      Well said.

      as I recall, the longest REAL word is supposed to be "antidisestablishmentarianism"

      I think that falls a bit short of the 14. 8-/

      Of course there IS that word that some call the longest, but I don't think it qualifies! "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"!

      WOW, I guess that IS about 14! 8-)

      It IS defined in dictionary.com!

      –adjective
      (used as a nonsense word by children to express approval or to represent the longest word in English.)

      Talk about PRETENTIOUS!

      Steve

      BTW I didn't say that to start a political OR a religious discussion. It's not MY fault that the longest real word happens to be such a word. At least the word establishment isn't defined because, if it were, it would be practically a sentence onto itself. It is a word that spells out EXACTLY what it means, outside of defining establishment. I guess that is a good recipe for the longest word. The Germans do that with great ease, and are known for having long words.
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      • Profile picture of the author HeySal
        Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

        Well said.

        as I recall, the longest REAL word is supposed to be "antidisestablishmentarianism"

        I think that falls a bit short of the 14. 8-/

        Of course there IS that word that some call the longest, but I don't think it qualifies! "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"!

        WOW, I guess that IS about 14! 8-)

        It IS defined in dictionary.com!

        –adjective
        (used as a nonsense word by children to express approval or to represent the longest word in English.)

        Talk about PRETENTIOUS!

        Steve

        BTW I didn't say that to start a political OR a religious discussion. It's not MY fault that the longest real word happens to be such a word. At least the word establishment isn't defined because, if it were, it would be practically a sentence onto itself. It is a word that spells out EXACTLY what it means, outside of defining establishment. I guess that is a good recipe for the longest word. The Germans do that with great ease, and are known for having long words.
        I love that word (antidisestablishmentarianism). When I first learned it I was around 13 or 14 and when my dad would get in my face about my "attitudes" I would call him an antidisestablimentarianist. I'm thinking the word still gives him a headache when he hears it - if anyone actually ever uses it other than kids who want to get flippy with their parents.
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        • Profile picture of the author copius
          Pedantic?

          I feel that your copious assertion is far too sagacious for my diminuitive comprehension.
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          • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
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            • Profile picture of the author Kay King
              I find I use smaller words when posting here than I would if I were talking to the person.

              Wonder why that is?:p

              Never mind - I figured it out.
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          • Profile picture of the author HeySal
            Originally Posted by copius View Post

            Pedantic?

            I feel that your copious assertion is far too sagacious for my diminuitive comprehension.
            Don't you have a fast forward button?
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  • Profile picture of the author sparckyz
    I liked to use big words in my dissertations. That in conjunction with adding lots of empty pages so when it's weighed, and the length of the words are measured it passes
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  • Profile picture of the author madison_avenue
    George Orwell perhaps the greatest writer in the English language said:


    Never use a long word where a short one will do.

    Long words don’t make you sound intelligent unless used skillfully. In the wrong situation they’ll have the opposite effect, making you sound pretentious and arrogant. They’re also less likely to be understood and more awkward to read.

    When Hemingway was criticized by Faulkner for his limited word choice he replied:
    Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.]
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    • Profile picture of the author DaveHughes
      Originally Posted by madison_avenue View Post

      George Orwell perhaps the greatest writer in the English language said:
      Sorry, I have to do it. Really? You're putting Orwell (a great writer, no doubt, but I'll put Alfred Bester up against him any day of the week) over Shakespeare? Shakespeare, by the way, not only used larger words, but he tended to make up his own words and phrases when he couldn't find an existing one that fit his purpose.

      Pretentious twit. :rolleyes:

      As to the topic at hand, when I was in junior high school, I created what I call my "filter". I automatically filter out larger words in my conversation...I learned that when I realized that no one but the teachers knew was I was saying.

      And trust me, it didn't have a darn thing to do with trying to be pretentious. I taught myself to read when I was three, and have been reading non-stop since then. Yes, I have a huge vocabulary, but I realized that it did no good if no one would listen.

      (Side note: When I get really tired, my "filter" drops. I know this because my wife will say "Go to bed; your filter is down...I didn't understand a thing you just said." :rolleyes

      Perfect example in this thread...why assume that, just because someone is using words larger than those you're comfortable with, that they're trying to be pretentious? I'm not saying that there aren't people that do exactly that (because there are), but it's usually a case of tarring everyone with the same brush when many people hear someone use a word they don't know.

      What if the name of this thread was "Does using small words make you sound stupid?"

      I'd still argue against it.

      Everyone is different...in ability, in likes (and not just on FB), in dislikes...let'em do whatever is comfortable for them.
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  • Profile picture of the author BryanC
    I'm still in the cube job and I had always used big trigger words on a daily basis at work to make myself sound more professional.

    Then I found this article the other day and felt like a jackass once I realized I use half of those words in my regular vocabulary -
    http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/fast-company-staff/fast-company-blog/how-stay-awake-boring-meetings
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    • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
      The English language is full of rich and beautiful words. Why should we not use as many as we can?

      Tina
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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by TMG Enterprises View Post

        The English language is full of rich and beautiful words. Why should we not use as many as we can?

        Tina
        Sadly, many don't understand sesquipedalian words. 8-( The average reading level, in the US, is 8th grade! Apparently, that is the same as the UK. HECK, ever go to one of those SAT word sites? They cover like 5000 words, MANY are so simple that you can't understand english without knowing them. AND, even then, many are incomplete. GRANTED, they just want you to pass the SAT, but STILL...

        Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    BryanC,

    I figure about 5 of those are really ok. Some are questionable, one is a bit pretentious, and all the rest are usually BS! MAYBE I can have a "winner", as I generally use maybe 5 of them. MAYBE! I probably hear most in 3 meetings or less.

    HECK, I get like a business word/phrase of the day and MANY are incomplete or just WRONG! I'm waiting for them to say something like PHP--Post Hypnotic Process, or some such. YEAH, it is THAT bad! And some of the "best practice" documents I have seen started with nothing, or garbage, and haven't been updated in years, yet they may be happy with them. The idea is to start with some generally accepted outline, tailor it to your needs, have a "lessons learned" meeting after each major project, and UPDATE IT! Eventually it ends up making many mistakes IMPOSSIBLE to make.

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      My whole life, I have spoken in simple, plain English.

      It works for me.

      Besides, I don't know any big words.

      And as far as I'm concerned, it can stay that way.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        On the other hand, if you find you are often classifying others as pedantic due to use of large words in text or conversation...perhaps you aren't as smart as you thought?

        It's not the words you use - but the way you use them - that is important.
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        • Profile picture of the author seasoned
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

          On the other hand, if you find you are often classifying others as pedantic due to use of large words in text or conversation...perhaps you aren't as smart as you thought?

          It's not the words you use - but the way you use them - that is important.
          EXACTLY! If something is OVERLY wordy and the large words don't express the thoughts better, THEN it is pedantic and pretentious. Otherwise, it is conceited to believe that they are doing it MERELY to impress.

          Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author HeySal
        Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

        My whole life, I have spoken in simple, plain English.

        It works for me.

        Besides, I don't know any big words.

        And as far as I'm concerned, it can stay that way.
        You still know terminology that others don't. I'm unfamiliar with technical ends of music -- and you can lose me real fast when you start to use music terminology.

        Should those of us not in the industry expect you to walk on eggshells and worry about breaking down every term that comes out of your mouth? Enough of that and talking can get to be a real pain in the butt real fast. Conversation isn't supposed to be work.

        I remember when writing standards for journalism went from 10th grade to 8th grade English. I remember one of my colleagues remarks about that memo -- he said "(bleep bleep) Are they gonna make us write with those big crayons, too?"

        How much do we have to worry about breaking our ideas down to someone else's levels before maybe it becomes the obligation of the person who can't understand what many consider normal speech to learn their own language?
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        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          Speaking of cell phones...I went to the dreaded walmart today and while in the housecleaning aisle, I overheard a conversation by cell phone that blew my mind.

          Before cell phones, how on earth did people decide what bathroom tissue to buy? Seriously, that's what she was discussing and it cracked me up.

          kay
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          • Profile picture of the author Dave Patterson
            Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

            Speaking of cell phones...I went to the dreaded walmart today and while in the housecleaning aisle, I overheard a conversation by cell phone that blew my mind.

            Before cell phones, how on earth did people decide what bathroom tissue to buy? Seriously, that's what she was discussing and it cracked me up.

            kay
            I don't think we had more than 2 brands BEFORE cellphones...

            Those little buggers (cellphones) opened up a whole new world.
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  • Profile picture of the author Intrepreneur
    Well anyone can use big words. Though not everyone will get them. It's all about the audience not the words. This video is good.

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  • Profile picture of the author sarahberra
    No I don't think using big words makes you sound smarter. Choosing intelligent words that convey a clear message is best.
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    Intrepreneur,

    As far as saying that anyone can use big words, have you ever watched Archie on "All in the family"? He sometimes tried to use what some consider big words and it was quite comical! As for that video? I am ambivalent about it. All at once I dislike some of the expressions and wholeheartedly agree with the rest.

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Seriously - some are missing something here.

      Not everyone speaks in a simplistic way using the same words consistently. There are people who explore the language and use it and experiment with it. There is an art to the language of those who can speak comfortably with others at various levels of society, education and background.

      I have no problem talking with people who use a full range of the language - big words included. However, any discussion with someone who says "ya know" or "like" every few words makes me want to throttle them.

      I fear the constant yammering on cell phones and short-phrasing by texting may result in less use of language. Could it be in the future people will know only the same 500 words and just keep repeating them to each other? How boring that would be.:p

      kay
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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

        I have no problem talking with people who use a full range of the language - big words included. However, any discussion with someone who says "ya know" or "like" every few words makes me want to throttle them.
        I APOLOGIZE for using "ya know" and "like". PLEASE have pity on me. With my age, and the fact that I was born in CA. Well....you know!



        I really AM sincerely sorry.

        BTW I remember when RAM was considered a big word, and people thought it was stupid to say RAM, ROM, PROM, EPROM, etc... They wondered why people didn't just say MEMORY. But it was industry terminology, and every acronym has a DISTINCT meaning.

        Steve
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        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          From California? Ok, that explains it. Like, I get it. You know what I'm talkin' about?
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  • Profile picture of the author myeanne
    Originally Posted by Seleyna View Post

    in the same way when a misused big word has the opposite effect of making you sound smart!

    pedantic!

    Hi Seleyna! Are you a Filipino?
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  • Profile picture of the author myeanne
    ^ i will also consider that. LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author thunderbird
    Originally Posted by Seleyna View Post

    in the same way when a misused big word has the opposite effect of making you sound smart!

    pedantic!
    If you were aiming to spark off reactions, do did a great job. I honestly am not even sure I understood what you were saying. The word "pedantic" is nice illustration of what I think you meant, since it comes out of nowhere and doesn't really seem to connect with the previous sentence. Hope I'm not being too pedantic in pointing out that discrepancy)

    (If any of the words I used were too big, I profusely apologize).
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  • Profile picture of the author newbie2011
    Not using big words is now out of fashion.
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  • Profile picture of the author ELVISTHEPELVIS
    They can at times but I find when someone uses too may it seems like they are trying to impress someone. It can entirely depend on who is saying them too, they need to be able to back them up. So many times I have witnessed someone purposely using big words and they would often misuse them.
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by ELVISTHEPELVIS View Post

      They can at times but I find when someone uses too may it seems like they are trying to impress someone. It can entirely depend on who is saying them too, they need to be able to back them up. So many times I have witnessed someone purposely using big words and they would often misuse them.
      Yeah, basically that is when I HATE big words! If they are ONLY to impress, and misused, it is just WRONG. OH, and Ride_the_lightning.... Big words, properly used, CAN contribute to brevity!

      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author tamarindcandy
        "Big words" are often very precise. Misusing them makes you sound stupid, but there are perfectly valid reasons to deploy them.
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        • Profile picture of the author myob
          When marketing to professionals such as in the medical fields or scientists, you have to deploy a few big-assed words or they'll think yer just an idiot.
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  • Profile picture of the author KimW
    Don't get me going about cell phones!!
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  • Profile picture of the author alesia
    for me using big word like a stupid person...like me LOL
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    • Profile picture of the author ThomM
      Originally Posted by alesia View Post

      for me using big word like a stupid person...like me LOL
      Trust me on this.
      Posting to a thread that's 10 months old with that, doesn't make you sound smart.
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  • Profile picture of the author dagaul101
    That reminds me of that line in Avator "be here at 0800...and use big words"
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Ten
    If it doesn't make you sound smart, at least it makes you sound sesquipedalian.
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  • Profile picture of the author jonnieke
    once i was told communicating is important but communicating effectively is key.if you are using very big words for an audience that does not know what u are saying then it leaves you quite on the losing side.its better to use simple words and straight to the point instead of having to explain yourself now and then then you save your self alot of time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sumit Menon
    What? It doesn't? So all this time I spent reading the dictionary was a waste?

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  • Profile picture of the author EricDelano
    No I think that if you can explain something hard in simple terms so the dumbest guy gets it, then thats what makes you smart!
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