No, I won’t dumb my writing down!

Nor simplify it, nor keep it below a 6th grade level!

I’ve seen a disturbing trend among bloggers. One of the tips I’ve seen lately to improve my blog is to lower the grade level needed to read my articles. I’m told that making my blog easier to read will increase my followers, improve my stats, and crown me queen of the blogging world.

Some of the tips I’ve seen make sense – keep my sentences short and readable, don’t repeat myself, highlight keywords, use lists and graphics, shorten my paragraphs. I stop cold at the idea of simplifying my work beyond a certain level. My readers aren’t dumb, neither am I, so why should I dumb things down?

Language can be a beautiful thing. Sometimes the right word is a complex one, or the concept might be something esoteric. I can understand the need for making something readable by a global audience. However, isn’t that why there are online dictionaries?

I don’t use words to show off. At the same, sometimes a long word is simply the best one to use. Longer words are often more specific than simple ones. If you are talking about vermilion velvet, is it enough to just call it red? If you are writing a recipe for quiche lorraine, specifically, is it right to just call it “egg pie?”

Clarity is great.  However, instead of purposely oversimplifying what we say, why not invite others to stretch, grow, and enjoy the richness and eloquence of language?