A Few Words on Words
Updated 14 August 2015

Alliteration -- The use of a word or words with similar sounds can give a poetic quality to copy.  Single words with alliteration include bobble, dawdle and bumblebee.  Alliteration is also evident when one advertiser describes its perfume as “a melding of flowers and more flowers mingled with a fresh flourish of spices.

Cadence and Rhythm -- The rhythmic pattern of words can create certain emotions.  Would the Platters have reached the top of the charts with a record entitled “I have eyes for only you?”  Some of the most memorable advertising slogans are short, catchy phrases enhanced by their rhythm:
         We bring good things to life.
         You deserve a break today.
         When it positively, absolutely has to be there overnight.
         The wings of man.

Connotative words -- Some words have meanings that are suggested or implied beyond their literal interpretation:
         A novice may fix your car, but an expert repairs it.
         A bully is more formidable than a mean person.
         A rich man is more powerful than a wealthy man.
         Writing rapidly doesn’t present the same image as scribbling.

Conversational -- Copy writing ain’t English literature.  Good copy speaks the language of its audience.  It talks the same language.  “That’s why it’s important to write like people talk.”

Literal words -- Words that have exact meanings.  Therefore, say what you mean and mean what you say.  For example: if you say something was decimated, do you realize that the literal meaning is that only one-tenth of it was destroyed.  If you say the Jets killed the Sharks, are you using a sporting hyperbole to describe an NHL game or are you being literal about a scene from the musical West Side Story?

Powerful plosives -- Words containing b, c, d, g, k, p and t sounds are called plosives because of the manner in which they formed when spoken. Because of their distinctive sound, these words are attention getters.  Of the top 200 brands names, 172 contain plosives. Examples:  Coca Cola, Colgate, Delta, K-Mart, Kodak, Kraft, Pepsi-Cola, Tide

Onomatopoeia -- Some words have been created as a echo of a sound, such as clatter, clank, ping, tick-tock, hum, splash and buzz.  In its “Head for the mountains” campaign, the impression of a cold, fresh can of beer being opened was created altering the product’s name to read as BUSCHHHHHHHHH!

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