Vikki Ross

26 June 2012

Words. Say a lot, don’t they?

We use words all day every day. Talking, texting, emailing, writing, tweeting… But what are we all saying? I’ll be home for dinner. I need it by the end of the day. I’ll meet you there. I love you.

Words in a book

Think back to your school days. English was such a serious subject, and writing was so formal. Long words were representative of your intelligence. Spelling them was a huge achievement. Punctuation was complicated.

We’ve come a long way since then. We’re communicating in such different ways. Abbreviations, combinations and words that are completely made up have entered the dictionary.

Our English teachers would never have allowed this sort of talk. But it’s what keeps things natural. And it’s not just people who are doing it. Brands are too.

For the past three years, brands have been having what I call ‘their Innocent Moment’. That’s right, the company that started off as a couple of friends making smoothies has influenced organisations, large and small, in every industry, and inspired them to have fun with copy, be a little less serious, and talk in a way that everyone can understand.

Then just as we’d got our heads around where to put things like commas and apostrophes, hyphens got a whole new rule of their own. We don’t need them anymore. They make copy look old fashioned and headlines ugly, so we’re dropping them. But be careful where you do drop them. A crude-oil worker and crude oil worker mean very different things.

And who’d have thought we’d ever start a sentence with ‘and’, ‘so’, or ‘but’? But we do. So there you have it.

  • Words in a book

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