10 Ways to Sound Smart Even if You Aren’t

1. Turn Proper Nouns into Adjectives

Yea, you may think you sound smart when you are talking about Shakespeare but when you say, “Mah homieo, Romeo, where is you, Romeo?” it doesn’t matter who wrote it. The key is to turn proper nouns into adjectives. Make Shakespeare, Shakespearean. Make Newton, Newtonian. Make Moses, Mosaic (Bonus points for this one). After you use one of these words, it won’t matter what you say afterwards because people will be so baffled in trying to decode the incredible word that you just used. Watch:

That play was so Shakespearean. I can’t believe Manning completed the pass.

I know. It’s baffling. You were so distracted by Shakespearean that you didn’t realize how stupid the sentence was. You’re welcome.

Stupid 1

2. Use Farming Metaphors

In our hearts, we are all really farmers. That’s where we come from, right? We are people of the land. Pretend everything has to do with the farm, so you can really connect with everyone. Example:

We had sown the seeds for a great party and were about to reap the drunken benefits.

3. Axiomatic Paradigm Shift

What does it mean? It doesn’t matter. Just throw it into a sentence every now and again and you’ll reap the rewards of sounding like an Einsteinian G (See what I did there). Let’s give it a try:

There has really been an axiomatic paradigm shift in the alcohol that freshman drink.

4. Genesis

Everything is related to the Bible. Everything related to the Bible is related to Genesis. Try the following sentence:

Wow, that reminds me of Genesis.


People will just start nodding after that because all situations are like Genesis, religious or not. Woman tempts man: Genesis. There’s a big rainstorm: Genesis. A woman gives birth at 120 years of age: Genesis. You create something: Genesis. You see a pair of animals: Genesis. People are babbling in a different language: Genesis. Your son tricks you (Why do you have a son?): Genesis. You offer a pledge as a sacrifice to God but God stops you right before: Genesis. You get the point.

5. Utilizing Your British Heritage

Are you British? If so, great. If not, it doesn’t matter. Just pretend you have a British accent. The British are supposed to use like 9% of the lexicon while we only use like 6%. So you gain a whole 3% IQ by sounding British. Give is a try:

I was eating crumpets when the Duke shouted, “Othello, I love the Anglican Church.”


Make sure you adjust spellings: theater becomes theatre, color becomes colour, and center is centre. Also, British accents are sexy. So yeah. Hit up them ladies (as long as they aren’t from Ireland…)

6. John Locke

Politics come up every once in a while. John Locke is your best friend. Every modern American political idea basically came from him. Property rights: John Locke. Separation of Church and State: John Locke. Division of Powers: John Locke. Plus, this is a great tactic to combine with tactic one.

I may have plagiarized the answers, but I worked to write them all so they are all my property, according to John Locke.

If all else fails just pretend that you were talking about the character on the television show Lost.

7. The Obscure Fact

You should always have one random fact up your sleeve to throw into conversation. It doesn’t even have to be related, but it will make you seem esoteric (#vocab). Try something like this:

Yeah, I get it. You’re mom will hate you for failing all of your finals, but did you know that the phrase “keep the ball rolling” was coined on William Henry Harrison’s campaign trail?

And yes, he was actually a president. 31 days counts. I swear.

8. Operas & Art Museums

The two snootiest places in the world: art museums and opera houses. If anyone asks, you frequent both. If they ask which one, you say all of them.

“If you haven’t been to every art museum in Boston then you are so not Post-Modern.”

9. The Obscure Quote

Very closely related to number seven. This is like the fact but makes you seem smarter because it gives the illusion that you actually listen to people. You can even make up a quote. Just make sure that you attribute it to Voltaire or Ben Franklin. Look. It’s easy:

As Ben Franklin once said, “If you haven’t flown a metal kite from the top of your dorm in a rain storm then you have no balls”.

10. Act like the World is About to End

Every academic field is sort of grim these days. You should be too! It’ll put hair on your intellectual chest. Try this sentence:

I fear for my children’s, children’s cousins. This world is going down the crapper.

End of World

Maybe it’s not but who cares? Philosophers are a bunch of nihilists. Physicist say that a black hole is gonna devour us. Biologists say a super virus is coming. Astronomers say an asteroid will pummel us. Books and movies have no meaning. Everyone is sort of depressed. Give it a try!


11. Look the Part


Smart people don’t have time for beauty. Einstein never combed his hair. Newton never got that much needed face-lift. Shakespeare didn’t care what anybody thought of those funny pants. Look like a slob. The more of a slob you are, the smarter you must be. (Except that Bill Nye fellow. He’s sort of put together.)

Boston College Student. Wearer of Extra Medium Pants. Lover of the Key of C#m. Collector of Wishing Well Change. Writer of Your Thoughts.

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