“This is why we can’t have nice things” — the my-clone-saw-this-on-Facebook edition

One of Paul’s friends on Facebook (probably Devon-not-Devin) shared the link to some silly word quiz that, supposedly, only people with IQs in the 140-149 range can get a perfect score on. (Why is there a top to this range? Argh!) Here are some words that the quiz’s creators say only a Really Smart Person (but not too smart) will know: fastidious, cobbler, abdicate, rescind, qualm, loathe, quaint, brazen, famish, parched, contingent, enunciate, dire, gullible, inferior, vapid, conundrum.

Famish, by the way, is wrongly identified on the quiz as a noun. So is parched. (Famish is a verb; parched is usually an adjective, sometimes a verb, and never a noun.)

And as for conundrum… Does that word make anyone else think of the sci-fi television series Seven Days? No? Just me, then?

Although I understand not using all of these words in everyday conversation (can you imagine what sort of life calls for frequent use of words such as abdicate and dire?), surely anyone who attended university (or just got a decent high school education) at least knows all of them…

According to my results on this “quiz” (of course I had to test it — have you ever known me to tirade against such a thing without seeing it for myself first?), I’m an “Einstein of words.” Um… You kids do know Einstein’s IQ is estimated to be rather higher than 149, right? (And again, why the hell is there an assumed top to the range of intelligence for people who know these words? Is someone with an IQ of 162 supposed to have a smaller vocabulary than someone with an IQ of 142?)

EDIT: Yes, friends, I’m aware of the real purpose of such quizzes. The trouble is that a lot of people take them seriously, and they assume from one like this “vocabulary quiz” that only Really Smart People (but not too smart) can know something that ought to be common knowledge… If it had been presented as a just-for-fun “How Many of These Words Do You Know?” thing, I wouldn’t have cared one bit. It’s the false claim that you have to be a certain kind of genius to have a good vocabulary that I object to.





About Thomas Weaver

For several years, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom (editor). I'm physically disabled, and I currently live with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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6 Responses to “This is why we can’t have nice things” — the my-clone-saw-this-on-Facebook edition

  1. Kaylena says:

    I’m convinced those quizzes and others like it are designed to target people of average intelligence specifically; this demographic will feel more compelled to take such quizzes and prove to everyone else how “above average” they are. It’s actually somewhat brilliant if the goal of the creator is clicks and engagement.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kira says:

    I’m guessing Those Facebook quizzes are like that because when people are told they’re geniuses, they’re more likely to share the quiz and take additional quizzes, so it’s good for business.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Terra Vance says:

    I hate untruths.

    Also, I believe I have abdictated any mooring to societal language norms. In the dire era of “very big words, all the bigly words,” it feels a virtuous– though admittedly Quixotic– pursuit to proliferate lofty lexicon. Everyone loves pedantic aspies.

    The IQ range cuts off at 140s because a perfect score will yield one no higher than 140s range for the populat online IQ tests.

    And having an Einsteinian IQ is as much a handicap as it is a gift… Right?

    When you coming to the party? We are a commune of independents. 😂 Somehow, that’s true

    Liked by 1 person

    • They don’t present that IQ range as “140 or higher,” which is what would make sense if they used your (very sound) reasoning; they present it as stopping at 149. (I’ve seen a few people online lately claiming that 150 is the absolute highest IQ any human can have, though, so maybe that’s where they get this nonsense.)

      I wish everyone loved “pedantic aspies.” Or at least tolerated us.

      Liked by 1 person

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