This is going to sound like heresy for an English teacher to say, but politicians and other leaders are using too many big words in their interviews and that turns people off. George Orwell warned us about the dangers of something like this in his famous essay \u201cPolitics and the English Language\u201d and that was decades before social media existed. Scratch my word \u201cheresy\u201d above and change it to \u201csin.\u201d \u201c Heresy\u201d is exactly the type of word that I\u2019m talking, about full of ancient religious background, which is irrelevant. And \u201csin\u201d would do just as well if not even better in getting the point across: it\u2019s bad. Here\u2019s another boring windbag word: \u201ccoup.\u201d It\u2019s pronounced \u201ccoo\u201d like what two birds do when they are flirting. It\u2019s used by politicians trying to describe what protesters were doing on Jan. 6 when they attacked the U.S. Capitol Building. Except that \u201ccoup\u201d isn\u2019t birds making romantic sounds, it\u2019s people making trouble. It is a French word that means \u201ctake over the government.\u201d The full French term is \u201ccoup d\u2019etat\u201d which means \u201ctake over the state,\u201d i.e., \u201ctake over the government.\u201d Oops, I did it myself. I used \u201ci.e.,\u201d a Latin abbreviation for \u201cid est\u201d which means \u201cthat is.\u201d Why didn\u2019t I just say \u201cthat is\u201d? Why did I drag out a Latin reference which only lawyers and professors use? Who was I trying to impress with \u201ci.e.\u201d? Probably some voice in my head from when I had to write term papers in college. How neurotic. Oops, there I go again, this time with psycho-babble. \u201cCrazy\u201d would do just as well as \u201cneurotic.\u201d But back to the problem with \u201ccoup.\u201d Why couldn\u2019t politicians and leaders just say: \u201ctake over the government\u201d? Why do we need the fancy French term \u201ccoup\u201d? Who do leaders think they are talking to, anyway? Joan of Arc? Napoleon? Here\u2019s another big word that we should throw out the window: \u201cnarcissist.\u201d Why can\u2019t we simply say \u201cself-centered\u201d or \u201cself-involved\u201d? Why do we need a fancy piece of psycho-babble like \u201cnarcissist\u201d? And while we\u2019re at it, let\u2019s throw out \u201csociopath,\u201d too. Just say \u201ccold-hearted\u201d or \u201cunfeeling\u201d or \u201cwithout a conscience.\u201d Those words are not only clear, they\u2019ve got punch. Let\u2019s make it a trifecta (no, \u201cthreesome\u201d is a better word): we should also dump \u201cempathize\u201d into the word-trashcan. Just say \u201csympathize.\u201d Granted that \u201csympathize\u201d is not a high-octane emotion like \u201cempathize,\u201d it\u2019s just a regular-octane emotion. But \u201csympathize\u201d somehow carries more heart with it than \u201cempathize.\u201d Everybody can sympathize. Not everybody can empathize. I hear certain politicians say they want to \u201ccodify\u201d abortion rights. That sounds like a fishing technique used off the New England coast. Why not simply say make abortion rights \u201ca law\u201d instead of \u201ccodify\u201d? Am I a retired English teacher who is advocating that our leaders become dumb or dumber? Not at all. I\u2019m just asking that they broaden their audience to include all of us regular folks \u2014 not just \u201cthe ladies who come and go speaking of Michaelangelo,\u201d to quote a famous poem. The English usage rule book \u201cThe Elements of Style\u201d by William Strunk and E.B. White orders writers to \u201cavoid needless words.\u201d Let me put it a bit more bluntly for our politicians and leaders than just \u201cavoid needless words\u201d: Be less snooty. Please. Talk turkey, not caviar. Paul Keane is a retired Vermont English teacher who grew up in New Haven and Hamden.