The English language is as varied as it is wonderful. Today, the Oxford English Dictionary contains over 171,470 words.
And yet from a copywriter’s perspective, there still aren’t enough.
We spend our lives labouring over words; looking for ways to make tired concepts engaging, while desperately avoiding repetition.
Here are 10 words that would make our lives considerably easier.
1. A synonym for solution
Clients love talking about solutions. Business solutions, product solutions, ingenious solutions. But copywriters hate repetition.
Herein lies a riddle. How do we talk about all these solutions, without repeating ‘solution’? Is there a solution?
2. A word with the raw clout of the f-bomb, which won’t get you fired
We all love a good eff. But when you’re writing blogs for a family-oriented supermarket, or B2B emails about paintbrushes, it’s not really appropriate.
If only there were a means to harness this potty-mouthed power, without leaving your livelihood well and truly effed.
3. A synonym for experience
As is the case with ‘solution’, your thesaurus won’t help you replace ‘experience’.
Whether you’re using its noun or verb form, it’s irresistible when you’re writing copy about food, leisure or travel. But, sadly, it doesn’t look good repeated. If only ‘feelication’ or ‘sensify’ were words.
4. A conjunctive adverb that won’t make your copy read like an academic essay.
‘However’, ‘Moreover’, ‘Conversely’, ‘Furthermore’. In our school days, they earned us gold stars. But in copy, they just sound scholarly and pretentious.
5. Better words for ‘things’ and ‘stuff’.
Sometimes you need to talk about things and stuff. But there’s something inherently unprofessional about both words.
For copywriters, it’s just another one of those frustrating… things.
6. A sarcasm mark
Technically this should be filed under grammar, not words. But, particularly in Britain, a sarcasm mark would save a lot of trouble.
You know that stressful ‘to send, or not to send’ moment? When you review the email you’ve written, over and over, afraid the recipient might think you’re being passive aggressive. (Even if they’ve known you for ages, and have no reason to think you’ve suddenly had a drastic personality change?)
Introducing a sarcasm mark would help confirm that you’re not being serious, and that there’s no need to sever your relationship forever.
7. An ‘exclamastop’
Another one for the grammar wish list. When you’re writing for a serious brand and you want to say something light-hearted, an exclamation mark can rouse a little too much excitement. But a full stop feels abrupt, deadpan and dry. If only there were a middle ground!/.
8. A short, snappy synonym for ‘exacerbate’
It’s too much of a mouthful, and there aren’t many relevant alternatives. Germany has its own unique word for a specific form of exacerbation: ‘Making something worse when trying to improve it.’
But it’s not going to help us. At a whopping 17 characters, borrowing ‘Verschlimmbessern’ would just exacerbate the problem.
9. An upgrade from ‘awesome’, now that teenagers have made it redundant.
The dictionary definition of ‘awesome’: ‘Inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration or fear.’ Increasingly ineffective in today’s world, you’re more likely to hear it used to describe an entirely generic strawberry yoghurt.
10. A new word to replace ‘copywriter’.
If you dread the moment when somebody asks you what you do, you’re not alone. Ironically, the word for our expertise in clear communication actually makes very little sense.
‘What does that mean?’ ‘Do you work in legal?’ ‘Can you help copyright my friend’s wacky invention?’ Suggestions for a job title rebrand are welcome.
Bring on the next OED.
What words do you wish existed? Let us know in the comments.