Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Big words...yeah, but nah...

"Miss, do you use big words because it makes you sound intelligent?"

This is an honest quote from one of my students, bless them. My reply was this:

"I use profound words that appeal to my innate love of the English language."

After the baffled looks I responded:

"I use big words because I am intelligent." *

And reading that makes me seem like some giant know-it-all with a superiority complex. I can assure you, dear readers, that I am neither. I quickly followed it up with something about how I love reading and I love words so why shouldn't I use big words or different words. Then I tried to explain that it is better to have a lot of words in your mind because you never know when they may come in handy. They seemed satisfied with that but it got me to thinking...why do people think using words that may not be overly common makes one appear more intelligent?

I was reminded of a poem I saw by Taylor Mali where he said something about how he never uses the words 'um', 'uh', and there were a couple of others that I can't quite recall but his reasoning behind it was very interesting and I feel as if I have begun incorporating it into my normal conversations. I have found it difficult because you suddenly become aware of how often you actually use those words but it is also interesting to notice how many people actually do use those little words. Here's the link to it because it really is brilliant. Click here

Plus, I am an English teacher now so I should be allowed to use momentous words around my dear wee students. If I don't encourage them to foster a love of words who will? I swear, trying to get them to read is a job in itself.

Insert tangent here: I saw Cowboys vs Aliens last night. It was bloody weird and, as my father so aptly put it, it was as if the director was making a pizza and just couldn't stop adding toppings. It was a fun movie, don't get me wrong, but it seems as if it would have been more enjoyable had I been in a crowd of like minded people. I had to bite my tongue far to often to stop myself from shouting out "There can be only one" or "Dr Jones?" or even "Shaken, not stirred." Though I do believe I heard someone humming the Indiana Jones theme behind me.

*I actually think my proper response was, I use big words because I know how to use them but I can't be sure.


  1. I have no desire to see Cowboys and Aliens. Ever since Steven Spielberg ruined Indiana Jones with aliens, he's wanted to ruin every other movie he makes with aliens. What's next, Pride and Prejudice and Aliens?

    BTW, I'd use big words even if I wasn't a writer. There's a certain beauty in being able to describe something--anything--as eloquently as possible. Using your vocabulary is just a means of doing that better.

  2. i don't use big words, they sound snob, not smart...

  3. I find using fancy wordularity to be rather ostentatious.

    Okay, not really. I think it's kinda hot. Also, I like the word "wordularity" even though it isn't a real word. But, I'm going to find some way to use it in conversation today.