Choose your words carefully.

Instead of a word today, some negative inspiration. Pay attention to the words you use. People notice.

“A couple of years ago, I was in a meeting trying to persuade some people of the merits of a business idea. The presentation seemed to be going well: the three people opposite me were nodding as I spoke. After ten minutes I stopped talking and put my pen down on the table in what I hoped was a business-deal-sealing kind of way. Then one of them spoke, ‘You kept on using the word salubrious,’ he said. ‘Do you know what that word actually means?’

I should confess at this point that salubrious is one of those words I’ve never been sure about. It sounds like the French word for dirty, which is sale, but I can never remember if it in fact means the opposite: if it means clean. I had to go for one or the other now.

‘Er… doesn’t it mean dirty?,’ I said weekly.

He shook his head. ‘Salubrious means the opposite – it means clean.’

The deal collapsed five minutes later.”

From Hubert van den Bergh’s, How to Sound Clever: Master the 600 English Words You Pretend to Understand When You Don’t.

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