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official, bureaucratic language. E. Partridge in his dictionary Usage and Abusage gives a list of officialese which he thinks should be avoided in speech and in print. Here are some words from Partridge's list: assist (for help), endeavour (for try), proceed (for go), approximately (for about), sufficient (for enough), attired (for dressed), inquire (for ask).

In the same dictionary an official letter from a Government Department is quoted which may very well serve as a typical example of officialese. It goes: "You are authorized to acquire the work in question by purchase through the ordinary trade channels." Which, translated into plain English, would simply mean: "We advise you to buy the book in a shop." [38]

Probably the most interesting subdivision of learned words is represented by the words found in descriptive passages of fiction. These words, which may be called "literary", also have a particular flavour of their own, usually described as "refined". They are mostly polysyllabic words drawn from the Romance languages and, though fully adapted to the English phonetic system, some of them continue to sound singularly foreign. They also seem to retain an aloofness associated with the lofty contexts in which they have been used for centuries. Their very sound seems to create complex and solemn associations. Here are some examples: solitude, sentiment, fascination, fastidiousness, facetiousness, delusion, meditation, felicity, elusive, cordial, illusionary.

There is one further subdivision of learned words: modes of poetic diction. These stand close to the previous group many words from which, in fact, belong to both these categories. Yet, poetic words have a further characteristic — a lofty, high-flown, sometimes archaic, colouring:

"Alas! they had been friends in youth; But whispering tongues can poison truth


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