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Does it meet the teenage test?

Way back in the seventies, my father* worked in the M&S merchandising department. Apparently they had a rule in management that all communication dispatched to the branches must first be read and understood by a 16-year old. If a branch received incomprehensible instructions, the chain of command would demand to know whether a teen had... Read more

Words that stand up

Think of a famous speech. ‘I have a dream…’, ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few…’, ‘It’s not what your country can do for you…’ or ‘You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.’ Or recall someone less famous, who you saw... Read more

Abstract words leave little impression

George Orwell wrote: “Most educated people don’t realise how little impression abstract words make on the average man.” We agree. So it’s always been a mystery to us why businesses seem to want to pepper their communications with them. Read more

Keywords or carewords?

“But can you write for SEO?”  We’re often asked this when being briefed on a new website. And yes, of course we can. We can take any words you like and make sure they feature in all the right places, and fit within the flow of a page without making it look like the Google... Read more

Winning wordplay

A friend just made my day by forwarding me the latest list of Washington Post neologism winners, where clever everyday wordsmiths come up with new meanings for common words. Let’s see if we can slip some of these into our copy this week… I think number 5 might come in handy for a new fertility... Read more

About us – is it really worth saying?

One of the golden rules for any kind of writing is asking yourself whether what you want to say is what anyone really wants to hear. A good copywriter has to ask this question continuously of his or her own writing – and of what clients all too often seem determined to bore their audiences... Read more

Lost in translation…

These days most airports and city streets looks pretty much the same thanks to our multinational landscape. Boringly bright fast food chains, long lines for lattes at Starbucks, pan-piping buskers… So it’s refreshing to see the English language is still being mangled magnificently in other countries, as these gems illustrate: Read more