Before y’all send me emails about my misspelling, let me tell you a story. A friend wrote on her Facebook page that she overheard a conversation between two fancy, schmancy East Coast college graduates that used both “petulous” and impetulous” in conversation.
Um, yeah. Neither one is a word. At least not a word in any dictionary I know.
Which brings me to something I frequently tell clients. Put yourself in the writing. Meaning? Unless you actually use a particular word in conversation, don’t put it in your blog entries, your social media posts, newsletters or emails. Because until you use words in your everyday speech, your writing won’t sound like you. High falutin’ never impressed anyone.
On the other hand, using jargon – the everyday vocabulary of your industry – can get you in just as much trouble as trying to use high falutin’ words. With an audience of your industry peers, jargon is A-OK, and expected. But when the receiver of your message doesn’t understand these specialty words, jargon is problematic. Your clients, your followers on social media, the public and the media doesn’t understand what you mean. In fact, writing this way can make you seem out of touch. Like you missed the point of trying to communicate at all.
So. Impetulous. Petulous. High falutin’. Jargon. Seriously?