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Is There Beauty In Verbosity?

One of the qualities I appreciate most in people who write or comment on social media is articulating thoughts into words in a simple way, using as many words as necessary to express what they want to say.

Those of you who met me through social media might have noticed I never write long comments and use complicated sentences. It is because English is not my native language, but also because of my nature, that embraces brevity in speech and writing even in my mother tongue.

Despite my penchant for brevity, I am not entirely opposed to verbosity. A definition of the word verbose is, ‘containing more words than necessary to explain a thought.’ Verbosity is sometimes necessary to provide a precision of the narration or helping explain complex ideas or messages.

When I was in high school, I had the required reading list of writers like Dickens or the Russian writers who all had been extremely verbose. Some sentences contained several hundred words! Dickens was famous for being overly verbose, or Faulkner who used long, flowery sentences. It was the age of verbosity.

Still, there is beauty in verbosity as in novels by Gabriel García Márquez. Equally brilliant, in long-form on hundreds of pages as well as in short stories, he wrote beautiful, long sentences. A delight to read!

Good prose, no matter the length of sentences, goes down smooth and easy. It is almost like dancing with words.

Unlike such prose, there were books I never finished reading. I found myself re-reading lengthy sentences in futile attempts trying to comprehend what the writer wanted to say. There was no pleasurable reading experience, only the feeling of wasted time.

Some articles I found on publishing platforms lately reminded me of those books. I somewhat understand writers who have just started their writing journey, sharpening writing skills on the go. I was one of them. Many novice bloggers are under the misconception that writing more words makes them a better writer.

Yet it seems that some deliberately choose to write in a seemingly philosophical narrative style with needlessly long and complicated sentences. I take my hat off to them. It takes real talent to construct such writing that looks like profound wisdom when it is not.

Language is an instrument for expressing thoughts. Words should have a purpose and not just be for the sake of itself. Why then complicate and hide behind words that writers cannot communicate in a comprehensible style? Especially on social media where most of us write to entertain, engage, inform, or to convey a message to readers.

To write tediously prolonged and complicated seems more like egotistical boasting. If your writing is for the public, you should think of readers.

When a reader goes back to re-read a sentence to understand it, the writer has failed.

On social media, however, there is an audience for every style of writing, including complicated and verbose with long-winded sentences that sound vague and unclear.

For some, such a style is pretentious and inflated and others see it as a feature of a philosopher and thinker. As always, the audience decides.

So, enjoy the beauty of the language, make full use of words, but make them count!

Lada Prkić
Lada Prkićhttps://www.bebee.com/@lada-prkic
Lada Prkić is a Civil Engineer and has a lot of professional experience in various fields of Civil Engineering. She works at the University of Split on the capital construction projects at the University Campus and beyond. Besides performing responsible tasks as a Project Manager, and Head of Capital Investment Office, Lada became passionate about blogging. She writes about civil engineering, architecture, geometry, networks on social media, and human relations. Lada lives with her family in Split, Croatia, a beautiful 2,000 years old city on the coast of the Adriatic sea.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Lada, to say the least thought provoking. I guess it is what you write rather than how many words. A personal style.

    My family say that my style of writing is ‘flowery’! Yes, I can certainly write posts or replies that are perhaps too long. When it comes to descriptions, I let the heart take over the pen. I do love writing and if the requirement is for ornate descriptions, yes I do tend to go for it! I’ve taken to reading Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet, Henry V and now King Leer. There is something about the ‘style’ that allows a form of visualization. Also, I do go back and read the sentences a number of times! Highly ornate.

    Thank you, Lada. You have certainly opened up a different perspective.

    • Simon, thank you for commenting on both platforms LinkedIn and here.

      I agree it is about what you write rather than how many words, but how we use words makes a difference.
      You say that your style of writing is flowery. I read your last article here (I’ll comment on it) and your sentences are perfectly readable. I guess it is because of using semicolons.
      After all, why not playing with the language or choosing less ordinary words and expressions. Words exist to be used. There’s an audience for every style of writing.

      By the way, my writing in English is different than in my native language. My sentences are more “flowery” in Croatian due to a much wider vocabulary. :)

  2. Lada, this was a very good read.. I only read it once. Your point came across, no puff pastry about it🙏😀
    I nod my head in agreement here and bust out laughing when I read this…
    “It takes real talent to construct such writing that looks like profound wisdom when it is not.”
    …Still chuckling

    I like to keep it simple. Respect the reader not your own audience of grandiosity.
    To get a point across in less words is the ability to express knowledge and help others with theirs.

    The times I spend re reading what I don’t understand.. makes me feel like I am less intelligent, more so on social media… as for texts on education/learning.. it may be required.

    The one thing on social media however is that it is international, there is a language barrier on a large scale…some re reading is necessary in order to clarify…if I don’t understand… I will simply ask what do they mean.

    “When a reader goes back to re-read a sentence to understand it, the writer has failed.”

    My mental idea regarding length is that the longer the sentences…people drop off…
    Most can remember the length of a phone number… and anything after that…you lose the whole number..lol

    This is what I like here👇👇 I adore a good flow.. it sticks.. kind of my thing. Lol
    “Good prose, no matter the length of sentences, goes down smooth and easy. It is almost like dancing with words.”

    Thank you for this read. I thoroughly enjoyed it Have a great Saturday

    • Good morning, Paula!
      Thank you for commenting on my post here on the “motherboard.” I’m still chuckling. :)

      What I noticed is that most people comment on shared posts on LinkedIn, but only a few people comment on the Bizcatalyst posts directly. Social media logic never stops surprising me.

      Through years, I met some people on LinkedIn and beBee who really have the talent to construct such writing that looks like profound wisdom when it is not. I am amazed by their ability, but also with how many people consider their writing profound. I have my inner “baloney” detector, which activates every time I read such posts or comments.

      I am not against verbose writing when it has a purpose and a good flow, as you say. There are authors whose books or articles are a real challenge for readers, but they are worth reading. Still, I’m more for brevity in writing.

      I’m not fun of using quotes and do it rarely, but this one by Einstein is very appropriate to the subject matter: “Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”

      • I’m with you here Lada… I hardly get interaction here too. I do get quite a bit on linked in though. I also notice there is a difference in views with shared material from my website ( usually higher) than live to linkedin??? Which gains more comments? I play around with the posting game and just watch the mess unfold. Lol

        I’m also agreeing with you on the “BS detector” too

      • Lol. Oops. I hit send. I wasn’t done. 😂🤣. As for half the comments. I sometimes feel they do not care about the creative work and take pride in what they have to say only, Or perhaps they want to take advantage of the large network audience.. I can’t help but wonder. Some days I wonder why I bother… and then I remind myself to just see the positive.. if only one is helped.. it’s worth it. It can be a struggle but it is a thought

        I’m just glad I saw this here by you and be able to tell you I appreciate you.
        Take care Lada. You matter

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