How to Sound Incredibly Pretentious in One Easy Lesson

As a practising organic chemist, I do a lot of literature reading in scientific journals that 99% of the population would probably rather shoot themselves than read, such as the Journal of Organic Chemistry (JOC), the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), and Organic Letters (Org Lett). Sometimes it seems like the folks writing the papers are trying to sound as pretentious as possible without conveying any useful meaning.

I present the following quote from an Org Lett paper I was reading today:

[Polyaromatic hydrocarbons] have found use as, inter alia, semiconductors in electronic devices, components of electronic energy transfer systems, and fluorescent sensors of various environmental changes.

Now I ask you: wouldn’t that have been far more comprehensible if, rather than the pretentious Latin “inter alia,” the author had used the far more common “among other things?”

I give my fellows the Knife of David Hamilton to assist in cutting through the binding ropes of obfuscation placed around such texts.

posted by Chris on 16 June 2003 at 2111 in language


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