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If you think it impresses your boss and peers when you use an expansive, often-mystifying vocabulary in your writing, you might want to reconsider. Researchers say that using big words can actually make you sound dumb.

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A recent study shows that people who use unnecessarily complicated words in their writing are viewed as far less competent and comfortable than those who keep it simple.

Researchers proved this theory with two experiments. In the first, they presented study participants with real college admission essays that had some of their simpler words replaced with more complicated ones. After being asked to read and rate the competency and confidence level of each essay writer, the participants rated the authors that used complicated language much lower than the authors who used a simpler language.

In a second experiment, the crafty researchers tried the opposite. They took abstracts for sociology dissertations and subbed out the big words for smaller ones. Not surprisingly, the participants rated the authors who used simple language as more competent and confident than the show-offs. Go figure!

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We guess it’s better to keep it simple after all.