English & EAL

Simple Language, Complex Ideas

August 13, 2017

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Whenever you write anything, whether it be a creative piece, a text essay or a literature discussion, keep these four words in mind:

Simple language, complex ideas.

It seems a basic concept, and at the heart of it, it is! But these four words hold the key to unlocking your English potential. 

To write at your own personal best, you need to utilise the language that you are familiar with. This way, you won’t confuse yourself, and as an extension, the marker too!

Writing clearly and precisely is a skill that all academics can improve on, so how do we outdo ourselves? It’s really quite simple. 

Whenever you write, choose words familiar to you. Searching for longer and more complex words can be dangerous. Rather for the simple word, the word that can be universally understood. When you truly understand the language you use, you then have the power to explore your arguments with far more efficiency.

Of course, with progression of writing comes an increase of sophistication, but do not let this be your goal. Rather, aim to allow your vocabulary to increase organically, looking up definitions when and where you need to. Expression is a facet of writing that every person can improve on, so why overcomplicate your task?

Next time you write anything, consciously focus upon how you express your argument, point of view or analysis. Often, you will find, the simplest word can be the most effective!

So, what about the complex part? This too will grow organically. Find a concept, idea or theme that you understand, and simplify it through the best language you can think of. This way, you ensure that nothing becomes lost in translation, and you demonstrate clearly to the marker that you understand the core of your topic. Next, find another idea, this time of a greater complexity. Break it down and put it into your own words. Over time, you will not only build a concise and accurate writing style, but you will also learn your arguments intimately. You can never go wrong!

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