Simple language makes you sound smarter

It's Complicated by Hugh McLeod
The urge to whip out some fancy multi-syllabic piece of obscure vocabulary can get away from you. Words like “declivity” or “orthogenesis” can be tempting to use to flex one’s intellectual muscles.

And people will be impressed with your superior intellect, right?


According to research conducted at by Daniel Oppenheimer at Princeton University, people who needlessly use complex vocabulary are perceived as being less intelligent than those who use simple, direct language.

“It’s important to point out that this research is not about problems with using long words but about using long words needlessly,” said Oppenheimer, the study’s author.

Simplicity has other benefits as well, according to Oppenheimer: companies with simple names tend to outperform those with more awkward names. Why? Well, it’s simple. People are drawn to words they can quickly and easily understand.

So spare yourself the $100 words. Think simple.

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