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- boosts immunity
Notice that each bullet follows same format: action verb, object of verb. To stray from this format is to do a disservice to bullet. Paralellism also works in a sequence separated by commas. “I like pie, I like cake, and I like pudding.” Another example: “She enjoys climbing, hiking, and fishing.” The incorrect version of this sentence: “She enjoys climbing, hiking, and to fish.”
Avoid wordiness. Eliminate following words and phrases from your vocabulary, and feel better about yourself: very, unique, being that, utilize/utilization, a lot, needless to say, it goes without saying, in back of, without a doubt, at some point in time, as to whether, it seems to me, oddly enough. They’re just filler, and they’re in same category as their credibility-stealing cousins redundancy, double negative, and passive voice.
Go easy on prepositional phrases. “The girl who was sitting on porch of house that was up on hill, felt breeze as it was gently blowing through her hair.” Eegads, what a mouthful! Correct this problem by breaking up your ideas into separate sentences. "The house stood atop hill, and as girl sat on porch she felt breeze blowing through her hair."
Use adjectives sparingly. “What? But my English teacher taught me...” Forget about what your teacher said. You’re running with big dogs now. Which is more interesting? “The boy skipped happily and grinned openly,” or “The boy skipped down hill, a grin playing about his face.” Don’t repeat words. I repeat: don’t repeat words.
Avoid hyphenating words that shouldn’t be hyphenated. What is this new trend that’s sweeping nation? “Put-on your coat.” “Please check-in before 9 pm.” Hyphens are used to join two words that, when used in conjunction, take on another word form. “Put on your coat” doesn’t require a hyphen because you can also say “Put your coat on.” ‘Check-in’ would require a hyphen if sentence read like this: “Check-in is at 9 pm.” This is because check and in work together here as a noun. Hyphenation is tricky, I admit; even as a grammarian I must consult my styleguide from time to time. I suggest you do same.
For Love of God, SPELLCHECK! Enough said.
Don’t over-exclaim or use excess punctuation marks in formal writing or advertising. And for God’s sake please don’t slip emoticons in to help you convey a feeling. That’s what vast English vocabulary is for. When people see you dropping exclam-bombs everywhere, they’ll think you’re cheap, tawdry and lacking design capabilities. Remember, you can use big bold fonts to make certain buzzwords jump right off page.
Dashes – and – ellipses... are not acceptable ways to finesse a poorly constructed paragraph. There’s nothing wrong with having two separate sentences instead of one that’s broken up into sections. Dashes and ellipses are a copywriting crutch. I’m tempted by them just as much as next guy. It’s so easy to insert a little pause in my rambler of a run-on using those three cute little dots. The ellipse... I love it! But I must control myself. Make a simple statement, punctuate with finality, move on to next idea. Don’t underestimate power of period. We all need a break now and then!
Don’t be afraid to use contractions. More and more I come across emails written by people who are either too lazy to use contractions, or they are simply fooled into thinking it is going to make them look smart. What’s wrong with sentence I just wrote? Contractions such as it’s, I’m, we’re, you’re, they’re, couldn’t, wouldn’t didn’t, doesn’t, aren’t etc. are a way to sound conversational in writing. That’s how people talk. What if you were making a formal speech? If you eliminated all contractions, you’d sound pretty robotlike, wouldn’t you?
One space will do. Those who are behind writing times still type two spaces after an end punctuation mark. Modern word processing programs have eliminated need for this, as they can sense need for a skoche more room after periods, question marks and exclams. So as much as I applaud you for being fastidious in your space insertion, you can stop it right now. Do your clients a favor! They’re not doubling up on spaces in their websites, so when you submit writing for them, don’t you do it either. This article is lengthy, but every single sentence holds weight. Read, and heed these words! Don’t be an advertising amateur; if you really want to wow ‘em with your wordsmithing wizardry, memorize and hold true to writing rules outlined here. Above all: practice, practice, practice! Master these tactics, and you’re sure to establish yourself as a writer with valuable insights, expert information and a powerful message to world. And a writer like that gets taken seriously.
Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.
Dina Giolitto is a New-Jersey based Copywriting Consultant with nine years' industry experience. Her current focus is web content and web marketing for a multitude of products and services although the bulk of her experience lies in retail for big-name companies like Toys"R"Us. Visit http://www.wordfeeder.com for rates and samples.