Don’t use pompous language in nonfiction book
Sometimes nonwriters who are experts in their field like to use pompous-sounding phrasing and sentence structures in their articles and emails. As the author of a nonfiction book for the layperson, you want to avoid such prose.
To a degree, such language really isn’t pompous at all; these experts are used to speaking that way in an academic environment where precision is important. Sometimes, precision requires the use of what others consider pompous wording.
Using phrasing and sentence structures that better match what you readers want is neither a bias against academia nor a dumbing down your writing. It is simply appraising and taking into consideration your readers’ needs and perspectives. This improves the book’s readability and helps earn you sales. For the very same reasons, journalists often are told to write to an eighth grade reading level.
The simple fact is that even if you are an expert in one field, having to read the expert-speak of those in other professions often is difficult to follow and sounds unnecessarily wordy.
For the example, the following paragraph carries a pretentious tone for many readers, simply because of word choice:
To ascertain the truth about the medication, doctors commenced an examination of the deceased who took it. They endeavored to determine whether or not patients purchased the medication while residing in regions recording high rates of carcinogens. Should patients have utilized the medication in such settings, then study of the medication’s alleged harmful effects would be terminated.
Instead, rewrite this so the language is more conversational sounding:
To find out the truth about the medication, doctors began examining the deceased who took it. They wanted to know whether or not patients purchased the medication while living in regions recording high rates of carcinogens. Should patients have used the medication in such settings, then study of its alleged harmful effects would end.
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