Friday, October 19, 2012


Following my recent string of posts on senseless marketing terms, I've decided it's time to quit driving myself crazy and return to carping about real language (seeing the terms "Couponable" and "IncreDQable" was the last straw).

So on to the business world, where apparently everyone's so busy they can't take the time to utter an adjective AND the noun it's modifying -- so they just stop at the adjective. It's not "creative marketing" or "creative design"; it's just "creative." As in, "I work in creative."

I once signed on with an agency called Freelance Creative. I kept calling it Creative Freelance because either way it didn't make sense to me. It was just two adjectives. Freelance Creative what? Creative Freelance what?

I also worked for a company called XXX Legal & Regulatory. Legal and regulatory WHAT, dammit?!

And the list is growing. I'm told "interactive" is also a victim of this crime. And yesterday I saw twice the mention of just "social" for social media. "How businesses are achieving success with social." Grrr ...

I fear that the abbreviated world of texting and Twittering is to blame. A related trend has some hipster colleagues of mine using "sitch" for situation and "obvy" for obviously. Ugh. And don't get me started on "totes."

What was that I said about driving myself crazy?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stop the insanity

Remember Anytober? And Fruitabulous, and those other ridiculous non-rhyming, non-punning marketing terms? Well, unfortunately, there are more where those came from ...

(I'm including photos where possible, so you know I'm not making these up. As if I could.)

In a slightly different category, we have:

Technically, these don't violate the non-rhyming rule — "frydrate" sounds like hydrate, and "YOURgage" sounds like mortgage. But. They're still stupid. (How's that for objective criticism?)

Please let the insanity stop.

(Hat tip to Patrick Donnelly for the YOURgage contribution. Thanks a lot, Pat.)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Victory for the Copy Curmudgeon! (Well, sort of ...)

A new sign has gone up at a local restaurant, and it makes me happy:

Why? Because the Copy Curmudgeon complained about this very establishment in an earlier blog post, and it appears that the powers-that-be listened! Or read. OK, likely neither. 

But somebody at Bakers Square got somebody's memo about parallelism and changed its tagline (or whatever it's called) from Restaurant & Pies to Restaurant & Bakery, which makes much more sense.

I'm still waiting for that free slice of French silk pie, though.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Would you like a discount on language with that?

I really do read things other than newspaper circulars, ads on the Web and retailers' coupons -- I promise. I read my share of fiction and nonfiction books, as well as several weekly and monthly magazines. But they typically aren't the source of such material as below, on which my blog largely depends.

To say "Save 15% off your next purchase" is wrong. I can't tell you why, exactly; it just is. Here are some guesses at what this particular store means:

  • TAKE 15% off your next purchase.
  • GET 15% off your next purchase.
  • WE'LL GIVE YOU 15% off your next purchase.
  • Save 15% ON your next purchase.

So many correct options and yet the incorrect one chosen. [Sigh] Oh, well. It's not enough to stop me from using the coupon. Now, please excuse me while I commence some online shopping ...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Be good. Write well.

What's wrong with this picture? 

Nothing, really. In fact, I rather like the idea of fudge-covered caramel popcorn. 

And the boots? Well, maybe when I was 20 years younger. Nah. Even back then, I would've rather gone barefoot and eaten fudge-covered caramel popcorn than risk breaking my neck wearing stilettos on cobblestone.

What's wrong is not the picture, but the slogan: "Be bad. Snack well." 

OK, I get that the name of the product is Snackwell's and so someone thought it was a clever play on words. Maybe. 

But when you combine "Snack well" with "Be bad," it doesn't work. At least, not for me.

Why? Because "well" is an adverb, describing how an action (snacking, in this case) is being done. The ad is telling you to buy this product in order to "snack well."

The problem? "Be bad." "Bad" is an adjective, not an adverb, and therefore not the opposite of "well." It's the opposite of "good." But we all know that to say "Snack good" is wrong, right? (Right?) Well, with the exception of the Applebee's people, that is.

So if these aren't opposites, doesn't that kind of ruin the word play? And logically (granted, maybe logic shouldn't even enter a conversation about marketing), they're telling you to be bad, presumably by indulging in their product, which is supposed to make you "snack well." Wouldn't that be being good?

I think I'm reading way too much into this. But it makes me think of another topic that should be addressed: when to use "bad/badly/good/well." Hint: You are NOT feeling badly about the Minnesota Twins' pathetic season so far. Stay tuned ...