My thoughts on writing tips found online and in published works (with some random thoughts thrown into the mix).

Friday, February 8, 2013

Retire These Words

While reading the Abby Kerr and the Voice Bureau blog the other day, I came across an interesting post. Abby Kerr focuses on helping businesses thrive, by helping the entrepreneur create a clear brand for themselves and giving them advice on how to be seen out there in the big, ever-expanding world. She covers such topics as copywriting, niche identification, content strategy, and SEO optimization. For her post on January 21st, she covered "11 'Branded Buzzwords' We Should Retire in 2013." I thought the advice was worth sharing, so here is my take on the post:

Abby Kerr encourages eliminating words, though allowing exceptions with almost each suggestion.

Some of the words that are marked on the do-not-use list are because they are too general. They don't really convey a meaning, beyond maybe a feeling of an idea. This type of word/phrase includes juicy, soulful, savvy, authentic, and make it pop. If you are tempted to use these words in your writing, whether it be for professional correspondence, your latest manuscript, or in your blog, I agree that you should reconsider. When you want to use one of these words, what are you truly trying to convey to your reader?

For example, pretend you are reviewing an article in a gossip magazine. Instead of saying that it was "juicy," try describing what you really mean. "The article was full of twists and turns that left the reader open-mouthed in shock. What a scandal!" This conveys much more than simply saying that the information was "juicy."

Abby Kerr also covers the use of the word epic. In today's world, it seems that this word is used at every turn. A trip to the store becomes "epic" after a teenager runs into her best friend. A boy makes a basket in a neighborhood basketball game and describes it later as "epic." According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of epic is "extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope" or "a long narrative poem in elevated style recounting the deeds of a legendary or historical hero." It goes on to mention that epic could be used to describe a work of art or a series of events that includes these qualities. Let's go ahead and let this word go back to it's proper usage.

While I am at it, I would also like to consider some other words that should be banished from use in 2013, especially from business perspective:

  • amazing (it's too bland)
  • awesome (again, blah!)
  • viral (this should have left with Y2K)
  • superfood (it sounds like a gimmick)
  • bucket list (it's fallen into the same trap as "epic")
  • literally (see previous post)
  • seriously (especially when used as a question and the answer is obviously "yes")
  • ignorant (another instance where people need to learn the definition)

Do you have anything you would like to add to this list?

No comments:

Post a Comment