Do long words impress?

When writing for business, we usually like to impress our readers, who are likely to be potential customers, employers, employees or industry peers.

Long words with many syllables can make us appear knowledgeable and experts in our chosen field, but how do readers know that we understand them? Also, they can intimidate readers who don’t know what they mean or mark us out as show-offs to those who do.

Using short, everyday words can make our writing more accessible and easier to understand. Using long words and difficult language can actually create a barrier which readers have to break down before they can understand what we are trying to say to them.

If it’s too much of an effort, many people will just give up and not read over-complicated writing.

There will always be occasions when it is appropriate to use certain long words, but where there are two words of equal suitability, the shorter one could be the better choice.