Every so often I see someone post a graphic on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram that gives flowery alternatives to commonly used words to help jazz up your writing. You’ve probably seen something similar – there’s an example here.
Now, I love words as much as the next copywriter so I love seeing the richness of the English language displayed like this. But – and it’s a big but – I do wonder whether those lists do more harm than good.
The job of a copywriter is to get the message across simply and clearly. Sometimes, flowery language is too distracting and just gets in the way. And if you’re worrying about whether your individual words are interesting enough you may be forgetting to worry about the bigger picture – whether your overall message is interesting enough
The simple truth is that effectiveness is more important than erudition in copywriting. Don’t feel the need to use fancy language just for the sake of it. And if in doubt, follow George Orwell’s advice: never use a long word where a short one will do.
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