Over Simplification

Cooking it that way uses up too much gas.

Get up.

Clean up.

Put it up.

Turn it up.

Up and away.

Come on up.

Come up and see me.

Use it up.

Eat up.


These all seem like simple and basic English phrases and usages on first glance. But to the non-native speaker, they are bizarre and confusing. I had my earliest inkling of this when a non-native English speaker who often speaks in broken English told me, “Your method of cooking potatoes consumes your fuel much and quickly.”

Consumes your fuel is more precise, specific, definitive than ‘uses it up’ or ‘uses too much.’

Often when we try to simplify our words we only muddy them.  Often when we dismiss, for instance, the King James Bible as being far too complicated for a non-native English speaker to understand, we are wrong because we don’t understand that non-native speakers often have a deeper and wider grasp of vocabulary than native English speakers, it’s our sloppy, imprecise shortcuts that stop them short.


Stop them short…

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