Do you remember when you were learning to ride a bike and it seemed so difficult you wondered if you’d ever master it? How about learning to read or write, do you remember struggling to read or write or spell words properly?
For most of us each of those tasks will have become second nature to us. I.e. We don’t even think about it when we jump on our bike, pick up a book or start writing a note. I was however reminded just recently that while I am able to read and write, there are still words that I come across which I don’t know what they mean or even how to pronounce them – My example is around an email I received from someone who simply indicated a meeting had been cancelled “due to an inquorate of people”.
Well the first thing I did was looked up “inquorate” as I had no idea what it meant or how it should be pronounced, but did assume it was to do with people and the meeting, but that was about all I could get from this email. It turns out all it meant was there were insufficient people available to attend the meeting – Why not just say that, why use a word that is not in the common vocabulary! It turned out that the other people due to attend the meeting also had to check what inquorate meant as they didn’t know either, so at least it wasn’t just me!
One part of my project we’re doing just now at work involves ensuring the system we are developing is written in plain English. i.e. It is written with the reader in mind and with the right tone of voice, that is clear and concise. With this is mind, it really makes me wonder why some people feel it necessary to use uncommon or non standard words when there are simpler, every day words that would explain the situation or circumstance much better!