Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Big and Small Words

English is a strong language. It has many words with very definite meanings. We can express ourselves clearly by using big words and more of them or we can express ourselves clearly by using short, simple words and few of them.

We can also say long, involved sentences that say nothing but sound impressive. It is more difficult to use short words and sentences and say nothing, but still possible as in Valley Talk and Cocktail Parties. Examples of the former are a PhD thesis in theology. If the candidate made it short he might not get his PhD.

Examples of clarity and strength with short sentences and words are Winston Churchill’s speech to the world after the evacuation at Dukerque and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

We see big words in Francis Schaeffer and simple words in C.S. Lewis.

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