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I'd like to know whether "establish a startup" sounds pompous in a conversation as follows:

John: Why did you decline that job offer?

Peter: I decided to follow my dream and establish a startup. Now I have over 20 employees and several major clients.

If it's indeed pompous, what alternatives would you suggest?

I'd appreciate your help.

  • establish is not a word that a student in elementary school is likely to know or use, but a fair number of high school (secondary ed) graduates might use it now and then. Certainly a college/university graduate should not be fazed by it. The phrase itself is neither pompous nor humble. That judgment would hinge on one's sense of how easy or difficult it would be for someone, or for Peter in particular, to do so. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 18 '17 at 12:37
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Your example is phrased perfectly, and conveys confidence, success, and "just the right amount" of pride in the achievement.

I don't think it sounds pompous at all, just keep in mind that tone of voice can often change the interpreted meaning of any sentence.

In my opinion "establish" and "startup" are quite commonly used; "pompous" isn't as common of a word. :)

Google nGram for "Startup"

  • The words "establish "startup" are surely commonly used, but I was asking about their naturalness in conversation, not writing. – Apollyon Nov 19 '17 at 1:14
  • Ah I see. Your example sounds perfectly natural. It seems like I hear the word "startup" a few times a day... which got me wondering about how common it's become. I added an nGram chart to my answer. It's interesting (to me, anyway!) how the word increased at high rate until year 2000, when it dropped off suddenly... – ashleedawg Nov 19 '17 at 7:21

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