Lifestyle & Culture

7 Ways to Sound Smart

May 21, 2017



WRITING WAS once a high calling. Just think of Shakespeare, and Hemingway, Sartre, Camus, Dostoevsky, Wharton, Melville. And the modern masters, like DeLillo, Heller, Roth, Tyler —the list is long. But somewhere along the way the art of writing became something everyone can do, and for almost no pay! All the ads for writing jobs on the Internet offer little compensation (1/7 of a penny per word), and boast that “no experience is necessary” for you to produce the pap they’re looking for.

Still, there are a few tricks involved in creating what passes for acceptable discourse. The most popular one is organizing your nonsense into a numbered list, making it sound like you have scoured the world and come up with the only “8 Ways to Save Your Marriage.” Or the “6 Things to Do Right Now to Be Happy.” Without the number in front of the words, few would bother to read “Ways to Save Your Marriage.” Ah, but with that magic number in front, they’ll think, “Hey, this guy (or gal, as many female experts call themselves) really knows some stuff!”

Anyway, below are those “7 Ways” you came for. (They also work in conversation.)

1. Place a number in front of a list of things, no matter how dumb they are.
2. Use uncommon words that most of your readers (and even you) don’t know, like effable and dactylion.
3. Try to mention kale, at least in passing.
4. Hint at an exciting professional past: “Back in my White House days, after I returned from the Geneva Convention….”
5. Break grammatical rules: “In order to actionize your plans…..”
6. Cite esoteric evidence: “A 2012 study conducted by the Institute of Myopedic Familial Genetics suggests….”
7. Include trending words and phrases to appear current. In other words, stay woke.

—Andrea Rouda
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.

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