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Simple Words and Writing Simply

Last week I wrote a post describing my job using simple words. While this was a fun exercise, it became obvious that writing using simple words and writing simply are very different things.

In this case, a "simple word" was defined as one of the top 1000 most commonly used words. I found myself having to use very long descriptions when a single simple word would have done except that the word wasn't in the top 1000. One example is "valve". This is a pretty simple word but instead I had to use the phrase "thing that gets in the way of wet stuff" every time I wanted to talk about a valve.

The other oddity was that some words were in the top 1000 words but when used in a different context. An example here is the words "controller" and "reading". The word reading in this case is referring to someone reading a book, not a measurement of the process. In these cases I felt that it would have been cheating to use the word without at least defining it.

In future, if I am attempting to write simply, I will allow myself to use less common words, but I will ensure that I define them within the same section. I will try and do this next time I have to learn some new topic to help me learn.

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