Inkhorning is not illecebrous

Keith Lewis, Digital Drum

‘Inkhorning’ could well be losing your company credibility with its clients. The problem is, you might not even be aware that you are guilty of it.

So what is inkhorning?

The term comes from back in the day. The day when scholars, in a mad dash to differentiate themselves from the common folk, borrowed words from Latin to make themselves sound clever.

Many of these words – like illecebrous (enticing), fatigate (tire) and exsufflicate (frivolous) – never quite stood the test of time. (Although evidence of the latter can still be found in Shakespeare’s Othello.) Put simply, inkhorning is the antithesis of plain English.

Are you guilty of inkhorning?

Today, some firms (even whole industries) are blissfully unaware that they are carrying on a modern-day form of inkhorning. But far from intimidating people, you are out to engage them. And to do that you will need to use plain English.

Yet many companies, especially those that operate in more complex fields, find this difficult. In fact, most people have a tendency for to revert to unnecessarily convoluted language when writing something down – leaning towards a colder, more academic writing style that rarely reflects who they are.

Using plain English isn’t simply about the words you use either. It’s also about the length and style of your sentences.

Read Keith’s tips in full at the Digital Drum