Author Archive | Jackie

…walked into a bar

A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.

A bar was walked into by the passive voice.

An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.

Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”

A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.

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Words a copywriter would never use

WordsThere are certain words a copywriter would never use.

‘Solutions’ is one of them.

One reason is because ‘solution’ returns 642,000,000 results when searched on Google. Wow. If there are that many solutions available, yours is highly unlikely to stand out.

I realise that people use the word to suggest they solve problems. But it doesn’t work. It’s clunky and pointless.

To demonstrate what nonsense it is, here’s what @DaveTrott tweeted yesterday:

Just had a nutrition solution, so I might go outside for some garden solution, or down the pub for some leisure solution, then the telly for some entertainment solution, and off to bed for some relaxation solution. Then tomorrow morning up and catch the travel solution to work.

A copywriter would never write: ‘An internet marketing firm specialising in e-commerce solutions’.

We’d write: ‘An internet marketing firm specialising in e-commerce’.

Or, even better, something that is more customer-focused: ‘We help improve the performance of your e-commerce website’.

The only time a copywriter would use ‘solution’ is when writing about chemistry e.g. ‘A solution of ammonia in water’.

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Why your website is like a restaurant

RestaurantWhen you click a link on a website and a dropdown or popup list appears, it’s called a menu.

That’s not the only reason why I say your website is like a restaurant.

I was recently asked to comment on a client’s leaflet, which listed all 11 services they offer.

Quite sensible, you might think.

Trouble is, the people that want service 1 are probably not interested in services 2 to 11, and vice versa.

With most people being too busy to think, there is no point in distracting and confusing them with irrelevant information.

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Copywriting has an image problem

TypewriterAs you may know, ‘copy’ is any text that is uploaded to the internet or printed on paper.

Copy: Middle English (denoting a transcript or copy of a document): from Old French copie (noun), copier (verb), from Latin copia ‘abundance’ (in medieval Latin ‘transcript’, from such phrases as copiam describendi facere ‘give permission to transcribe’).

The problem with the word ‘copywriting’ is that many people don’t know they need it.

Some people think they can do it themselves. But just because someone knows how to throw a sentence together doesn’t mean they can write copy.

Copywriting is not just about writing words that flow in a grammatically correct way. It’s the art of writing words that persuade the reader to take an action, change their attitude or spend their money. It’s a craft and a skill that overlaps with marketing, psychology and sometimes SEO.

Admittedly, it’s always been the case that people think they can write their own copy. But now there’s added confusion.

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Top 30 eggcorns


To be pacific (instead of to be specific)
An escape goat (instead of a scapegoat)
Damp squid (instead of damp squib)
Nipped it in the butt (instead of nipped in the bud)
On tender hooks (instead of on tenterhooks)
Cold slaw (instead of coleslaw)
A doggie-dog world (instead of dog-eat-dog world)
Circus-sized (instead of circumcised)
Lack toast and tolerant (instead of lactose intolerant)
Got off scotch free (instead of got off scot-free)
To all intensive purposes (instead of to all intents and purposes)
Boo to a ghost (instead of boo to a goose)
Card shark (instead of card sharp)
Butt naked (instead of buck naked)
Hunger pains (instead of hunger pangs)
Tongue and cheek (instead of tongue-in-cheek)
It’s a mute point (instead of moot point)
Pass mustard (instead of pass muster)
Just deserves (instead of just deserts)
Foe par (instead of faux pas)
Social leopard (instead of social leper)
Biting my time (instead of biding my time)
Curled up in the feeble position (instead of curled up in the foetal position)
Curve your enthusiasm (instead of curb your enthusiasm)
Heimlich remover (instead of Heimlich manoeuvre)
Ex-patriot (instead of expatriate)
Extract revenge (instead of exact revenge)
Self -depreciating (instead of self-deprecating)
As dust fell (instead of as dusk fell)
Last stitch effort (instead of last ditch effort)