As I know a reasonable amount about the English language, having studied its development from Anglo-Saxon through to the current day and also having taught English as a foreign language, I appreciate the fact that an extensive lexicon grants one the opportunity to select precisely the right word rather than have to rely on approximations. A house can fall into desuetude, or it can crumble; the choice of phrase will depend on what the writer wishes to convey. And if a reader is unfamiliar with a word then surely that’s a fantastic opportunity to extend one’s vocabulary?

No one objects to a composer using an unusual key, or modifying the time signature in order to achieve a certain effect. It’s odd, therefore, that some people object to writers utilizing analogous techniques in order to achieve the effect they desire. Too many people seem to think language is primarily about signaling social status or some other secondary function. In reality it’s about conveying information, ideally in precisely the way the writer intends. It’s just a shame so many people are content to act as if words were mud to be thrown against a metaphorical wall in the hope that some of it, somehow, will stick.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.