Being Verbose Should Not be Your Goal Uncategorized / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone:

Oh, my stars! The verbosity reigns in some students’ work…..They use the biggest words they can find, in the hopes of making an impression on their professor. They do, indeed, but not the way that you might imagine.

Many years ago, I had a professor whose comments on a paper required that I get out the dictionary. By the time I had gotten to the end of a sentence, I had forgotten what the beginning of the sentence said. It was that bad.

Oftentimes, students pull out every big word they have ever heard and put it in their paper. I had a student not so very long ago who wrote a six-page document, filled with huge, multi-syllable words. The whole paper could have been boiled down to one sentence: Good communication is good and bad communication isn’t. That’s it. Really.

Yes, I understand that graduate students have the need to prove themselves. One of my colleagues, remarking on a master’s thesis we were reading, said, “This kid has diarrhea of the mouth.” He was right.

The question is: Do you want to be known as having that problem? I would think not. If you are a communication major, communicate. Don’t obfuscate, stupefy, obscure, or make your writing unintelligible. Explain, don’t explicate, until you get to the Ph.D. level. Once there, do it carefully.


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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