The ego seeking writer would prefer high sounding flowery language to simple and straightforward construction. This is typical of the academic environment made up of what the language experts refer to as a narrow audience. For the mass communicator, the use of simple and short sentences are the golden rule if we must flawlessly reach the larger audience, and unambiguously too, with the information we intend to pass across. The media thrives on these set rules in playing the assigned role of informing, educating and entertaining the people. And so, the newsroom maxim, ‘keep it short and simple (KISS)’ holds the ace in the conduct of every media practitioner, the writer, journalist and the reporter. There are no rooms for bombastic expressions or complex phrases when we are thinking of speaking to as many people as possible including the man in the street and even young minds who should easily grasp the short and simple words or expressions without having to worry about unfamiliar words or sentences. As I often say, a good and creative writer should not bore the audience with high flying hyperboles like some of our politicians do to confuse the people more rather than address them in the language they could easily understand.
And this brings us to what the masters and purists of the language prefer when engaging the reading and listening publics; the use of simple and easy to grasp construction or expression. In attempting to carry the audience along, the language experts advice that the writer, journalist or reporter should endeavour to use one, two to three-syllable words for easy comprehension of his or her arguments. Long winding construction rather than aid in the dissemination of information or seamlessly drives one’s opinion through would instead obstruct it to the disadvantage of the giver and receiver of the information. The emphasis therefore, should be on the engagement of short, simple and functional English that would hold the attention of the reading and listening audience. Now let’s follow the example of short and straightforward words as listed by the language purists that could easily be understood even at a glance and avoid those tongue-twisting grammatical construction that could embarrassed the on-air personality, the radio or television presenter/anchor or make it difficult for him or her to read the news or moderate the programme effortlessly.
In technical writing as a whole, the creative writer frowns at constructions or compositions of words that occupy space or go beyond the preferred one, two to three-syllable word. He or she is crazy about cutting down the excesses. Again, the economy word comes to mind here. The creative writer avoids prefixes and suffixes like a plague, neither would he or she hype up unnecessary adjectives to prove a point. The creative writer would dump the word ‘peruse’ a two-syllable word for one-syllable word, ‘read’ that is short, simple and straightforward. So also these expressions ‘placed under arrest,’ for ‘arrested,’ ‘possessed’ for ‘had,’ ‘predecease,’ for ‘die before.’ ‘Prejudge in advance,’ ‘prior to/preparatory to/previous to,’ ‘proceed,’ ‘progress to,’ ‘proliferation,’ ‘prove beneficial,’ ‘provided,’ ‘purchase,’ ‘put in appearance,’ ‘remunerate,’ and so on. Choose and match the construction that would show simplicity in the use of words and save you that energy of interpreting the so-called big grammar to be understood. Prefers the word ‘biased’ for ‘prejudge in advance,’ ‘before’ for ‘prior to/preparatory to/previous to,’ ‘go or move’ for ‘proceed,’ ‘went’ for ‘proceeded up.’ Rather than write or speak the word ‘progress to,’ prefers the word ‘reach’ which is simpler and short. The long winding phrase, ‘proliferation’ can suitably be replaced with ‘spread, flourish.’ The expression ‘prove beneficial’ is rather long, instead go for the short one, ‘benefit, gainful.’ The construction, ‘purchase’ should give way to ‘buy,’ so also, the expression ‘put in appearance’ should be jettisoned for the simpler, short and direct ‘appear/appeared,’ and ‘pay’ for ‘remunerate.’