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A Mordacious Take On Loquacious Reviews

It was a night in the near past, and I was looking for a movie, trawling through Google as one does, looking at reviews, reading through spoilers (because as a slave to this ultra-fast, need-to-know culture… I enjoyed ridding myself of the enjoyment of watching a plot twist happen in real time).

Then, I came across a review from a newspaper and after reading it, sat for a while contemplating my own existence and staring at a tiny air bubble on my phone case.

This review can only be described in two ultra-long maybe incomprehensible sentences.

  1. It sounded like the writer had written a first draft and stated their point clearly, before rereading, mistaking clarity for blandness and rushing to Thesaurus.com in a blind panic to pick out the longest and most sophisticated-sounding synonyms for all the adjectives in their review.
  2. From here they rather cleverly decided to bury the mess  in a confetti shower of figurative language, drawing the reader away from the point that there really was no point and leaving them in a twist of utter confusion.

Put simply, it was like a birthday cake, but the actual cakey bit was only 5% of the whole cake and the icing, sprinkles and decoration made up the other 95%.

I can’t find the review I read, even after a thorough search of my browser history, so unfortunately, no direct quotes. However, I do remember some of the words (that were ESPECIALLY hard to forget), so let me give you a few examples off the top of my head (and with Thesaurus.com handy)

“Broad strokes of Kafkaesque strangeness entwined with a bombastic turgidity.”

“A horrendously mawkish affair that sacrifices logical narrative for excessive platitudinousness.”

First of all, the only time I have heard the word turgidity used is to describe the vacuole (“storage bubble”) in a plant cell.

Here is a helpful quote from Socratic.org as evidence to my point.

“Vacuoles regulate the turgidity by regulating the amount of water inside the cell. ”


Second of all, before you start to shake your fist at the screen and brand me a cynic and a hypocrite, (because admittedly, I tend to collect pretty vocabulary like a dragon hoarding shiny gems), I just want to say this.

I simply don’t think that the vocabulary and fancily strung together sentences are the sign of a sophisticated writer.  Sure, that one row dedicated to variety of vocabulary on our essay rubrics may say otherwise. However, I really think it is important to have a balance between the fancy and the foundation; the icing and the cake.

It seems to me that in their pursuit of gaining the famed title of “THE SOPHISTICATED WRITER™️”,  many writers, both professional and amateur seem to think that they can achieve this by desperately dropping unsuitably complicated words in every sentence like Tahani from the Good Place name-drops celebrities. I’m here to protest this with a beautifully worded sentence (if I says so myself) which sums up my point… succinctly.


Just. No.

We already live in a society where reality has fallen victim to surface appearance, and it is even sadder that now, the substance and authenticity of a first draft has fallen victim to the insidious overuse of the thesaurus.

I have been especially guilty of this, which makes this post extremely hypocritical, and don’t get me wrong, I am not criticising anyone who loves to run free with their descriptors. However, I just feel like our identity as writers, bloggers and whatever else shouldn’t become defined by the vocabulary or form of expression we use.

(And on that note, I just realised that I wrote a sort of lengthy post on the annoying-ness of excessive reviews)





1 comment

inky State Library Victoria

THIS RINGS SO TRUE! "I simply don’t think that the vocabulary and fancily strung together sentences are the sign of a sophisticated writer." SO TRUE!

9th Jul, 20