Plain Language – Evocative Language: An Effluvium of Hysteria

Plain Language – Evocative Language

In my “day job” I am quite deliberate about using plain language. I realize its importance in business settings. In some organizations simple communications are even more important than in others.
It doesn’t necessarily reflect the knowledge level of the readers either. Recently I found myself translating for a very high-level person with no degree, and an employee with more than one degree. Simple words were being used, but each person had a widely different definition for those terms.
Then there’s my creative writing and my personal preferences. I’ll go ahead and admit it – sometimes I can be a bit of a “grammarian.” However, that does not apply to using words in new and creative ways – or twisting them into something improper but fun!
What’s my point? Plain language and evocative language are not mutually exclusive ideas. Particularly in fiction [or other non-business settings] what a word makes the reader feel is very important. That’s why I enjoyed Mike Fedison’s post so much – An Effluvium of Hysteria. I very rarely “reblog” a post from another writer, but I thought this one was wonderful.

So… Please allow me to introduce the author of “The Eye Dancers,” Michael S. Fedison.


I love words.  I always have.  I caught the bug at a very early age.  I remember when I was eight years old, reading comic books, I would sometimes come across words I’d never heard of.  When I did, I would immediately put the comic down and open the dictionary I had, easily accessible, on a book shelf in my room.



One of the first words I recall discovering this way was “sanctimonious.”  It occurred in Fantastic Four # 111, and it was Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) who uttered it.  Back then, reading issue after issue of my favorite comic book, I could always count on old Reed to introduce me to new and exciting words.





In school essays, I would occasionally show off, and use some of the intimidating words I’d learned.  When I was nine or ten, teachers would comment favorably.  They were just happy…

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4 thoughts on “Plain Language – Evocative Language: An Effluvium of Hysteria

  1. In this day and age of internet and SMS language, I think that I am a bit of a snob since I pride myself in my knowledge of English. But even I had to look up effluvium! So, thank you for the introduction.

    As a language, English dons so many different avatars. Each country which uses it has its own version or interpretation. And language is all about change (as is life, I suppose). In that sense, the English language keeps evolving and purists like me find ourselves battling with the modern day txt msg, lols, rofls. brbs and ttfns!!!

    Good one Teagan, thank you for sharing.


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