Every Word Should Pull Its Own Weight
Updated on July 15th, 2013
A marketing coordinator at a flagship radio station recently made a comment which got me thinking about what we really take from the words we read. She noted that many of us spend upwards of three years learning how to win grades with fancy words, only to unlearn much of it as soon as we hit the world of employment. She referred to the need to “dumb things down” for the masses.
While I certainly agree that much of the wording used in essays becomes useless in the ‘real world’ – I don’t think that short, punchy copy equates to “dumbing down”. In fact, good copy should be as light on word count (and word length) as it can, while still delivering the message. And believe me, it’s a lot easier to ramble then it is to get straight to the point. When drippy essay language gets ditched, so too should the idea that four syllables plus means you know what you are talking about.
Somebody once told me that no matter what you write, you should read it over and cut every single word that doesn’t need to be there. That’s not to say describing words have to go – I love a good adjective, and anyway, their sole purpose is to add meaning to a noun.
So the rule is, if it adds value it can stay.
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