The perfection of Diction is for it to be at once clear and not mean. The clearest indeed is that made up of the ordinary words for things, but it is mean... A certain admixture, accordingly, of unfamiliar terms is necessary. These, the strange word, the metaphor, the ornamental equivalent, etc., will save the language from seeming mean and prosaic, while the ordinary words in it will secure the requisite clearness. What helps most, however, to render the Diction at once clear and non-prosaic is the use of the lengthened, curtailed, and altered forms of words.

This extract is from Aristotle's Poetics and as you may have noticed they articulate his idea of an ideal Poetic Diction. I am having trouble understanding the last line and would greatly benefit if one could give an example of pairs of words that have opposing attributes (the attributes being lengthened and curtailed).

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    Aristotle, of course, was writing in Greek, not English. I don't know clearly what he meant, but it could have been something which doesn't exist in Engtlish. – Colin Fine Apr 24 '16 at 20:37
  • Isn't there a contradiction when he writes that the words must be lengthened and curtailed? – model_checker Apr 24 '16 at 20:47
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    Agreed that those sound like opposites. He seems to be advocating variety. – Dodecaphone Apr 24 '16 at 20:52
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    I read it as "lengthened [or] curtailed [or] altered". In any case, if there is a problem in the English, this may be a problem introduced in the translation, or it may be an ambiguous rendering of ambiguous Greek, or it may represent something that the translator didn't fully understand in the Greek. It is not necessarily possible to resolve it in the English translation. – Colin Fine Apr 24 '16 at 20:53

This question is so broad to me...and I don't think he meant that one word could be lengthened and curtailed... But I'll give it a go:

1) lengthened= awesomesauce

2) curtailed= "ish" (noun or adjectival)

3) altered= shiznit

As to whether these are all clear and non-prosaic, that's for the reader to determine...

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