Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Limit Your Vocabulary

Upon mature consideration I advise you to go no farther with your vocabulary. If you have a lot of words they will become like some muscle you have developed that you are compelled to use, and you must use this one in expressing yourself or in criticizing others. It is hard to say who will punish you the most for this, the dumb people who don't know what you are talking about or the learned ones who do. But wallop you they will and you will be forced to confine yourself to pen and paper.
     Then you will be a writer and may God have mercy on your soul.

     No! A thousand times no! Far, far better confine yourself to a few simple expressions in life, the ones that served billions upon countless billions of our forefathers and still serve admirably all but a tiny handful of those at present clinging to the earth's crust....

     So forget all that has hitherto attracted you in our complicated system of grunts and go back to those fundamental ones that have stood the test of time.
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, in a letter to Andrew Turnbull


  1. The dangers of a good vocab? Yes, I had one person years ago ask why i didn't use simple words..I thought I had....A little slice of early life learning..I didn't know I was a writer then..but know it now..And yes, it can be a life sentence, as Scott Fitzgerald wryly comments..
    Great quote here, Dec..Provocative and interesting.

  2. Well said, Mr Fitzgerald. Some great advice there, and as always this blog is a mine of useful information, cheers, Daniel.