July 6, 2009

Random words that should never be used in advertising... Part 3


I'll also accept: Things.

Unless dialogue calls for "The thing is" or "Here's the thing," I'd stay away from this big, bad empty word. My favourite example--courtesy of a lazy, profiteering pseudo-book writer from my days way back at a correspondence school (don't ever take correspondence classes unless offered by a reputable institution!)--is the following, for an Introduction to Computers manual:

A computer is a thing...

Jebus, you don't say.


  1. Do you copywrite in french too? Would the word usage be comparable or would other languages have their own "words you shouldn't use"

  2. No--I just adapt from French into English. French is a difficult language to write--too many rules and regulations and exceptions. French copywriters have tons of resources. All I have is a dictionary and my Chicago Manual of Style.

    I imagine many of the same "don't do it!" ad laws apply, if we're talking about content, though.

  3. Probably dumb question but is Chicago popular writing style for angencies? My brother is an English prof/teacher at a Ontario college, and he couldn't tell me what one to use. He mentioned a lot of different ones.

    Off topic but just wondering.

  4. I've always used the Chicago Manual of Style, along with the Canadian Oxford Dictionary if I'm stuck on Canadian spelling. I don't know that it's the most popular, but I understand how it works and I like it. There are Canadian style guides out there, too, but I find them a lot more limited.

    Honestly, though--so much is available online, I barely pick up the books unless I'm really stuck. Or need to point out how I'm right. ;)

  5. Huh, tried to post and seized up on me...

    But anyway, I cracked up at "point out how I'm right"--pure awesome. I also use the CMS to play referee for one of my clients who always seems to have interoffice arguments about grammar and calls me to get chapter and verse.

    Seems like AP and NYT aren't used anymore, but they were both on my shelf way back when.