Hemingway has never written anything that sends a person to a dictionary

William Faulkner once commented about the writings of Ernest Hemingway, saying ‘Hemingway has never written anything that sends a person to a dictionary’. Hemingway countered by saying ‘Faulkner thinks that Big ideas come from big words’.

Nothing truer has been said by the great writer. Relying only on the use of words that are not in common use (I could have used the word ‘parlance’ instead had I not been committed to keep things simple), a person is trying to hide behind bigger words because of his inability to come up with better ideas.

There was this very particularly annoying guy in our office many years back, who though was very senior in experience, but after a series of demotions found himself rubbing his shoulders with the lesser mortals in the company. But it appeared that his mind had frozen in time, and he continued to behave himself as a top level executive. It is quite needless to add that his behavior was revolting to say the least for everyone around him. He would order around as if he was the feudal lord of the company. A young graduate, fresh out off the college, was one of his very sorry victims. One day, even before the day started for him to be ordered around, he went to this annoying person and said ‘What I can do you for today? He said it with such a straight face that many who could read in between the lines bursted into peels of laughter. By merely re-ordering the way in which the expected sentence goes, he was able to achieve what others had been debating in their mind for long as to how to bell the cat.

In as much as it is important to find out if there is a better way of doing it, it is important to find out whether there is a better way of saying it. Of course, bearing in mind the intended trajectory of the conversation

How many people you know from your experience with them, have the ability to indulge in word play to convey their message in the intended spirit?

If your answer is not zero, are they successful in their respective careers?

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