The art of communication is an art that can confuse people at times. The use of short old words is advised because of the simple fact that they have been in use for a very long time. Using short words brings the message out so clearly and sometimes graciously so that even the least attentive and learned audience is able to understand the message. Use of old short words is advised because many can actually relate to the message and understand the message being brought forward by the speaker. These words have been used for a long time and most people can relate to them. Small short words make thoughts flow easily; they are not complicated, they are easy to understand, easy to read and do not take up time to try reading them out loud or softly.
Richard describes short words as “bright like sparks that glow in the night, prompt like the dawn that grass greets the day, sharp like the blade of a knife, hot like salt tears that scald the cheeks”. He wants to show how easy it is to bring out the message, how natural it comes out, how easy it is to understand and the effect it has on those listening.
Richard also notes that the use of short words never disappoints, simply because the use of small, short old words is an inborn gift, one that would really be of help to all in both speaking and writing. Richard gives a few of the essays his students write using short words. Even though they opposed it before, they find using short words is quite easy and lovely. Reading those essays, one admires the use of the words; simply amazing.
In his essay, Richard encourages us to use short words rather than polysyllabic words because of two main reasons. The first reason is because the use of short words makes our work easier. There is no rule saying that we should only use short small words. Therefore, we should take advantage of that fact and use this to our advantage. Imagine a case where you are speaking to different people with different levels of education, it would not be fair to use big, complex terms rather, the use of small words cuts across all kinds of people. The educated and semi-educated can clearly communicate without the non-learned feeling out of place.
Second, his use of polysyllabic words is in a bid to practically show how hard it is use these words. He uses them to prove a point and the irony that he uses is able to prove that use of these words is a good way of passing views. He notes that the best proverbs use short words like “once bitten, twice shy”. These words are monosyllables but they tell a lot about the message intended. It is important to learn the use of short words so that communication may become easier for all to understand.