Big words or small words?


Um, I’d like to know: Is it better to use long o[poll type=regular]

  • Long words
  • Short words
    [/poll]r short words in a story?


I’d say in terms of reader understandable, short is probably better or a mix of both. However, it’s all about your style. Too many big words could come off as thesaurus abuse, but if that’s your style then go for it.


Ok, thanks! I tend to use words that make people have fun learning new vocab. I would use some long words, I guess.


I personally love learning new words. However, it can be taxing if a narrative is nothing but complicated words. I think a lot depends on your setting and audience. But I’m certainly not opposed to a sprinkling of lesser-used vocabulary.


That’s true. If a story is full of words you don’t know or understand, then that can get tedious.


I think of it as sprinkles. Make your narrative understandable, but sprinkle in some good words.

In terms of dialogue inner monologue, though, be careful and make sure it fits the characters voice. If your story contains more than one POV (point of view), changing up the vocabulary each character regularly uses can really make a difference in their voice!


Oh, that’s an amazing way to think of it. I will use that in my novel!


Personally, I think overuse of big words makes it seem like anyone is trying too hard. Using big words sparingly make it flow better. For me this applies to people speaking in real life too, so I think that’s why I follow. And small words don’t have to be the smallest words. Heck, you could add in medium words!

I think another thing to factor in is how the character talks or acts, and using big words might contribute to that.


So if you have a royal character, or something, you could use more words?


Diction most definitely plays a part in characterization, so yes, having characters use more complicated/obscure words could denote a royal education or even snobbery.

Just for the record, I don’t think using large/complicated words in everyday speech necessarily points to someone trying too hard. Some people just genuinely enjoy using those words or are trying to build a larger vocabulary. Of course, it’s rude to do this when you know the people around you are feeling lost and confused by what you’re saying, and sometimes simple is better. However, my family has no problem with me dropping in large/complicated words, and I have a few friends I know I can speak to in this manner as they’re word nerds like me.


I think it depends on your writing style :slight_smile: