Language is an inescapable part of life. The majority of us use it as our primary source of communication. So, it would make sense that the “rules” surrounding both language and life are synonymous. The only difference being, one can achieve perfection, although rarely, through one medium, but not the other.
Surely in the world of the English language where certain ornamental words flow so seductively off the tongue and intelligence is judged by how many syllables your word contains, it is hard to imagine that trimming all that down to the fundamentals may actually, occasionally, better your writing. Sadly, flamboyant language never came naturally to me and knowing my love affair with thesaurus was going to have to expire someday, hearing the words “simplicity is always your friend” was a rather extraordinary notion.
As a matter of fact, many of the principles of writing may apply to real life. You must be clear, concise and presentable, occasionally humorous, occasionally academic and always at precisely the correct moment. ‘Use more sophisticated conjunctions but don’t overuse semicolons, it looks ostentatious’ translates to ‘act seasoned and professional but not pompous’. There is a fine line that we constantly flirt with, between unusable and arrogance, known as perfection. The principals of both writing and life appear to be the same and the advice for either appears entirely interchangeable. For example, “be your own best editor”. This advice equally applies to life. Knowing your weaknesses and flaws is your greatest strength.
We study English literature through a restricted framework and as in life, one is expected to bend to the social and accepted norms and while individuality is technically accepted and encouraged, it appears that ideally one should never stray too far from the beaten track.
“Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing” – Robert Benchley