Keeping It Real; Keeping It Simple

Recently, I called a client about a quote he wanted to use in a press release, and I suggested a simple edit. He had written that he “held the deep conviction that . . .” it doesn’t matter what the conviction was, the word was wrong. He agreed and appreciated my feedback. We started talking about the fact that people often go for the bigger, showy word, especially when they are trying to describe a brand and convey advocacy for the brand, rather than keeping it simple and writing in real terms that don’t stick out and detract from the message.

I love a combustible, robust word. I love rolling it around on my tongue and feeling the texture of its meaning and subtleties. I know, though, through my own mistakes, and from reading countless others, that such words belong in the context of a proper place and time.

Writing can attract or turn-off. There are probably those of you out there thinking, “Yeah lady, you are turning me off. Move on. What’s your point?” Hey, we can’t always please everybody, but we should try to get a message across succinctly and clearly, always, especially when promoting a brand. So now I’ll move on.

Here’s my Saturday morning gift: A list of twelve words and their simpler counterparts. I’ve created this list because I’ve spotted the first set a good bit lately. They are good words, and they have a place in copy, but more times than not, the simpler counterpart serves the message as well, if not better. That’s the joy of writing and of creating a message: mulling over a word, considering its subtext and uses and then using the right word at the right moment to create the right message.

Fancy Pants Words

Blue Jean Words

Impediment

Obstacle

Expediency

Speed

Delineation

Outline

Elucidate

Explain

Equitable

Fair

Mollify

Soften

Obfuscate

Hide

Polemic

Argument

Optimum

Best

Nascent

Emerging or
beginning

Implementation

Use

Provenance

Origin

Multifarious

Diverse

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2 responses to “Keeping It Real; Keeping It Simple

  1. Great post! I’m a big fan of keeping it simple, clear and direct.

  2. Donna,

    Thank you for the paramount enumeration of habitually frivolously hackneyed words. Without a doubt, too many inhabitants of the human race try to camouflage their inadequacies by employing alternative verbiage. (stupid thesaurus.com is failing me!) Perhaps you can pen an article on how to avoid using worn out business phrases and buzzwords such as Synergy, Thinking out of the box or picking low hanging fruit?

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