Stop dumbing up your writing


We often refer to speaking or writing simply as “dumbing down.”

When we do this, we're discarding the fact that simple ideas spread.

Big, unnecessary words get in the way of a message. Sure, people could paraphrase the message into simpler words. But why should they have to do all the work for your message?

The same people who talk about “dumbing down” tend to be the same people who say no one reads anymore.

The truth is we now read more than at any other time in history.

Emails, internal messaging apps, text messages, social media, blogs, Google search results . . . Sure, neither of those is the latest great American novel, but they still must be read. The messages must be understood. Maybe acted upon, depending on the details.

Your readers probably know what “procure” means. Or they can figure it out by using context clues.

But they're busy. And they're trying to make sense of all the messages they're slammed with every.



So do your readers a favor. Just say “get”.

Save “procure” for when you're trying to impress your friend at the Paris Review.

But until then—

Stop dumbing up your writing.


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This post is by Jake LaCaze and originally appeared on