Cutting Blog Words Down to Size

L National Geographic Kids collects quirky, fun facts, and this week’s Say It For You blog posts are based on some of these.

I’ll bet you didn’t know this one: There is a hill in New Zealand named Raumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakotanatahu. (Really?)

That’s enough to inspire hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (fear of long words) in any business blog content writer, I’d say, certainly enough to bring on didaskaleinophobia (fear of going to school – or at least of participating in the class spelling bee).

“Should you use long words?” asks Emphasis. The answer: “Writing guides generally agree that short words are preferable. Many take their cue from traditional authorities such as the Fowler brothers, who on page one of their influential The King’s English (1906) told readers:  ‘Prefer the short word to the long.’  In fact, advises Emphasis, “using unnecessarily fancy phrasing is a reliable way to alienate readers. It makes prose puffed-up and heavy, so that reading it becomes a chore instead of a pleasure.”

Bloggers, believe it! There is actually a government department devoted to spreading the use of shorter, plainer language. Yes, really! Their web address is called! The introductory paragraph sounds is if it was composed by someone with a sense of humor combined with realism: “Vocabulary choice is an important part of communicating clearly. While there is no problem with being expressive, most federal writing has no place for literary flair. People do not curl up in front of the first with a nice federal regulation to have a relaxing read.“

Now that I’ve discovered this website, I plan forevermore to train corporate blog writers to use the example given in the PL Guidelines section:

Poor: There is no escaping the fact that it is considered very important to note that a number of various available applicable studies ipso facto have generally identified the fact that additional appropriate nocturnal employment could usually keep juvenile adolescents off thoroughfares during the night hours, including but not limited to the time prior to midnight on weeknights and/or 2 a.m. on weekends.

Good: More night jobs would keep youths off the streets.


Think about it: How can you say more with less in your business blog?

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