Paul Graham, the British-American scientist and author, has attracted criticism from Nigerians on X (formerly Twitter) after claiming the word ‘delve’ is only used by ChatGPT.


On Monday, Graham shared a post about how certain words are commonly used by Artificial Intelligence (AI) — the technology that mimics human intelligence to perform tasks.

Graham claimed words such as ‘delve’ and ‘burgeoning’ are not to be used in “spoken English”.

He argued that “people only use certain words when they are writing and want to sound clever”.


“Someone sent me a cold email proposing a novel project. Then I noticed it used the word ‘delve’,” he wrote on X.

“My point here is not that I dislike “delve,” though I do, but that it’s a sign that text was written by ChatGPT.”

However, several Nigerian users on X disagreed with the author; some of whom criticised him for being “blinded by the ripple effects of years of colonialism”.


A segment of users also raised concerns about how his remark could affect international students, while others said they preferred the “simplicity of American English”.

Graham’s tweet also sparked a conversation on the “unique” usage of the English language by Nigerians.

“A lot of folks who grew up in countries where English was not spoken actually use a lot of “written-first” words in their writing because that is how they learned the language,” a user wrote.

Another user wrote: “Lots of English speakers use delve. Reminds me of people that thought the words “palaver” and “vex” were not real. You’d be shocked at the proper words Nigerian English speakers use”.


Elnathan John wrote: “What Paul Graham did is dangerous and colonial. Many of us were flogged for using vernacular in school. We are treated with suspicion when we travel to the west, made to prove our knowledge many times over. Our knowledge is doubted and belittled.”

Here is what some users had to say:

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