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The Best Way To Write?


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Most people who are learning English as a second language can write well enough but you'll notice that they tend to use words which native speakers do not commonly use. They seek the help of a thesaurus because they believe all that nonsense about using the vocabulary they've learned.

So guys, would you prefer simple writing that achieves the purpose for which it is intended or high-brow writing that is pain to read but emblazoned with fancy words you don't normally hear in everyday conversation?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Are you talking about general cases? The best way to write is to write with what you know. A person who isn't really familiar with English, will probably use embellishment in their sentences, but without really knowing it. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, as long they're making an effort to learn and to improve. If somebody is purposefully writing pompously, then yeah, that's obviously annoying.

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I would prefer simple writing with a higher rate of accuracy in how it's used.  The most important thing about using language is communication, so the best way of using it is in a way that will facilitate that best.

Using a thesaurus can frequently lead to situations where the word isn't used right, even for native English speakers.  Sometimes words have more or less the same meaning, but aren't right if used in the wrong context.

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It's very common in my language (Russian) to write very long sentences, but from what I heard it's a bad habit to do the same in English. Wonder if this is true?

It's not necessarily bad, although from my teachings in the USA, I've heard a lot of the teachers tell me to get to the point. Basically, if you're going to write, keep it concise and to the point. This generally applies to essays and more academic writings.

However, for creative writing, you can write as much as you please  :wink:.

Also, I believe the best way to write is a way that incorporates your style  :grin:. It's amazing how every individual is unique in their choice of words and how they express those words.

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Yeah, long sentences in English aren't necessarily bad, you just have to make sure that they're easy to understand despite the length.  Sometimes a sentence can start to be hard to follow when it becomes too meandering, and that's when short and concise ones are better.

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I'm not sure that they reach for the thesaurus, exactly. I have several friends whose first language isn't English and at least one of them tends to use more obscure words. We've discussed it before; the dictionaries, for whatever reason, tend to give the more obscure words preference. Or else the obscure one seems to match more closely to their intended meaning than the more common one. Eventually, they switch to more common words as they become more familiar with English.

Personally, I don't care. They are writing what they know, and that's fine.

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It is always better to use simple language when writing, but it also depends on what is writing. Imagery is important to storytelling, for example, but if one is just sharing information it is best to just stick to the facts with as much clarity as possible.

Native English speakers in America have a lot of problem with writing though, so someone who is learning shouldn't feel too bad if told their writing is a little wordy or too full of modifiers. A lot of people write the way they speak, and I am sure that is the case in any language.

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I prefer simple writing above anything else. Sometimes, when your'e reading a novel or some other thing where people have used a lot of big words and too many difference ways to describe something, like "My proverbial depression was intensely debilitating and I shudder at the many thoughts that march through my head on this dreary summer eve!". I find that intensely hard to read! Not that I'm stupid, but all the words just make me forget what I'm even reading in the first place.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Is there really a single best way to write? For me, this is an individual process but there are best ways to improve our writings including using correct grammar and punctuation. Seasoned writers that i know of write simply and connect to their readers.

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I agree, there isn't a single right way of writing. The whole point of writing is expression, so it can not be all the same. People are different.

However:

1. Your grammar should be correct. - But don't forget that there are always exceptions. Some poets wrote with mistakes for some purpose. That is okay.

2. The best way to write with less obscure words, I would presume, is by reading books/ academic papers etc. in the subject and genre in which you intend to write. That way you will learn what is the usual style.

Of course, you should feel free to express your individual style, and if using different words is part of it, then do it.

I also had an English teacher that made me re-write parts of a novel that I was reading in English. She said it would teach me the flow of the language. I think if you write books for example, and they are in present time, then talking to a lot of native speakers will also help the flow of the language.

3. I do always think simple sentences and easy to read books are the best. However there is some benefit to embellishing a little.

Then again, writing should be a personal expression of the writer. Therefore, there can be more exceptions than rules.

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English has to be smooth and sounds right when used. If the sentence doesn't sound right when read then there's probably something wrong. My two cents would be, as long as what you're writing or saying sound right, you can use whatever type of words you think work.

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I prefer simple writing because I want people to understand me more effective and efficient. I hardly use any technical or professional writing because I tend to think deeper about those writings. I like simple and be able for people to easier understand what I try to write. I have known an author who only use simple writing because of that.

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I am a writer myself and I use simple words as much as possible in my writings and works. I believe I don't have to use high falluting words  to be  able to convey my ideas to my readers and my followers like my writing style simple as it is and people can readily understand and can relate themselves with. :) Readers won't have the time to use or grab a dictionary to search for vocabulary words they are not familiar. What's important is you can readily express yourself in your pieces.

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  • 3 weeks later...

For me the best way to write is to write with your intended readers in mind. Writing is communicating and the only way to effectively communicate thru your writing is to make your piece as simple and comprehensible for your readers to understand.  And don't forget about making your piece interesting and fun too to keep them reading your whole article (or book).  :smile:

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I prefer simple writing that gives you a quick understanding of what the writer wants to bring across :cool:. However, if someone whose native language isn't English wishes to use a word from the thesaurus to express what they want to say then that's what the person knows best and so I don't think of it as bad.

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It depends on the type of contents I'm writing. When I'm writing something informal or non fiction articles, I'll go with simple words because understanding the subject is more important. If I write something for literature, I'll use more flowery words for descriptive purposes.

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I have always heard the best way to write anything is conversationally.  So I would not characterize it as simple, but more so think about how you would say it.  Whether native or non native speakers I think anyone who thinks about improving their vocabulary and uses a dictionary or a thesaurus is learning and that is not a bad thing.  I do agree that to use words that are awkward for either the writer or the reader does not lend to a conversational style or even the most pleasant read.

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It's very common in my language (Russian) to write very long sentences, but from what I heard it's a bad habit to do the same in English. Wonder if this is true?

Ya you should be short and to the point when you are writing in english.

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I can understand if a non-native uses the thesaurus for help with words and ends up using a word that natives wouldn't normally use. Afterall it's what they know. I prefer to use words that are simple  and straight to the point so if a native was guilty of that then it would annoy me :sad:.

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I would choose the simplest form to write something to deliver the message. It's better than putting some big words that the reader won't understand. As long as the message is clear then it's good.

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Well, I usually prefer the simple, to the point form of writing, but sometimes it's good to read the high-brow, pretentious writing because it helps expand my vocabulary and general knowledge of the english language.  I'm also not a native english speaker, so I do sometimes misuse words.

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Again my stand here is depending on your audience. For starters or those who are still learning the English language, I suggest that they try to work with simpler terms before going through highfalutin terms which they would misuse and humiliate themselves. Your vocabulary and the use of terms which are uncommon should be moderated and used only for cases wherein you are addressing intellectuals, individuals who want to learn new words and for some of your family members.

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