What do readers prefer? simple words or big and hard words



Please give your views.

  1. They prefer what’s appropriate to the character and the genre.
  2. They prefer what doesn’t pull them out of a story because they need a dictionary to look it up.
  3. They prefer words used CORRECTLY. Big words that aren’t precise are annoying as hell.


This is the perfect advice tbh


It’s not a particularly “big” word, but there’s a certain author who likes adding “moderatively” as an adverb to descriptions, and it frankly drives me bonkers. Nobody ever screamed “I’m moderately wounded!” Argh.

Anyway, it’s all about usage, as @XimeraGrey says.

Imperial power reshaped society.

Solid sentence. It’s about the level I’d produce probably.

The liquor of empire, alluring and corrosive at once, saturating everything, every old division of sex and race and history, remaking it all with the promise and the threat of power.

10/10, never seen a better sentence anywhere. Just says the same thing as above (more or less). Requires some vaguely advanced vocab (corrosive and saturate maybe), but it’s basically all simple words - just used perfectly.




I think it doesn’t matter as long as it suits the story. And, personally, so long as it doesn’t impact my overall understanding of it.

A few things to take into account are the type of the story, and whether the book is on first or third person.

For example, a book (in third person) that tells the story of a 45-year old erudite during the médiéval times can have big words from cover to back-cover without it sounding weird.

That’s not the case for a young adult book (in first person) about a 14-year old girl and her high school crush. In this case, the writing should be adapted to the character narrating the story…


For an omni narrator’s voice: I want the book to use the right words, if that makes sense – the turn of phrase that creates a vivid picture in my mind. If that’s a five dollar word, fine. If the whole book is written at a third grade reading level, fine. Immersion is what matters to me.

For third limited or first: I need to book to use the right words for the character’s voice. I want to feel that character’s personality in their voice, and that voice needs to be distinct from every other character in the work.


I think it’s recommended to keep language at an eighth grade reading level. Once a readee gas to start sounding things out or looking things up, they get pulled out of the story.

If you have a know-it-all character or the character is in a setting where they feel they should behave more upscale, may use fancier words


I like precise words, but so far I was put on notice for using the following words: relentless, filigree, black-lacquered, midden heap… I think that’s it so far. So, I went and replaced midden heap with a pile of refuse. Then I thought some more, and wrote ‘garbage’ instead, and cried bitter tears. I loved midden heap.


Relentless is definitely fine. Those others are a bit niche though it really depends on the context.

Assuming there’s context, you should keep midden heap if you really like the word.


It was in a description of an antique ancient Chinese chest. I think I also used filigree about twenty chapters later again to describe ice crystals at the edges of the pool of clear water…

I did keep relentless, that one they would not take away from me, ever!


You were relentless in your use of relentless.


Fierce even.

Oh, forgot one more, I got pinged on. Picturesquely. It being the dreaded adverb, I agreed that it had to go, but darn, it burned to part ways with it.

I read in English way before I spoke it, so my vocabulary does go back almost two hundred years.


99% of my vocabulary is from reading. Except concur. That was Star Trek.

Picturesque is such a pretty word.


I am a reader more than a writer and I would run out of a book if there were too many hard words for me to say, sometimes I feel like writers has something against and/or forgets about the readers that has a speech impairment.


There are people out there who utilize an extensive vocabulary to uphold the pretense of possessing a superior intellect despite their unabashed disregard for the lack of merit supporting the contrary…Yeah. That’s all I got. looks at the floor Ooh, cookie.


As a reader I like both.
But if a story continuously has big words that aren’t… defined(?) for me (telling me what it means) & I have to look them up, it gets boring fast.


It depends on who your audience is. If the intended readership is younger teens (13-16), use smaller words and simpler language. If it’s for older teens and adults, feel free to use a wider vocabulary with larger words, but make sure not to overuse them.


Nailed it. Pretty much.


What about sci-fi technobabble? Things like “nano-material” “ablative armor” “graviton beam emitter” “directed energy weapon”?

I never use huge words, but I could imagine that people would have no idea what these things are if they weren’t used in context…