Monday, February 14, 2011
The Dos and Don'ts of Dumbing Down
To answer this question, I could easily say, no don’t ever dumb down, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. So, I’ve compiled a short list of dos and don’ts:
DO treat your readers as you would yourself: with respect. Dumbing down your writing can across as condescending and patronising.
DON’T use words that show how smart you are. Use ones that are right. This will sometimes mean the simpler words are more fitting.
DO give your readers some credit. They are intelligent human beings. They don’t need everything explained to them.
DON’T go for simplicity for simplicity’s sake.
DO try to keep your writing consistent. If your style is simple, then throwing in a big word will only draw attention to that big word.
DON’T dumb down your language so far that you lose the essence of your meaning.
DO know your audience, your market. Use words your audience will relate and respond to.
Can you think of other dos and don’ts? Do you change your writing style for a target readership?