Words to avoid using correctly in ads
Popular use determines what is and isn’t correct in language. Thanks to the numbers of people who use it’s me for it is I, like for as, and over for more than, these days such are only technically incorrect.
Some words, however, are misused often enough to make their correct use sound weird, yet not often enough to make their incorrect use okay. Expository writing is one thing, but what should you do if you’re writing an ad?
I suggest finding another word. I’m not saying that the general public isn’t smart, nor am I resorting to the insulting notion of aiming for an eighth grade reading level.* It’s just that most people have better things to do than keep up on the definitions and proper usages of arcane words.** “I used it correctly” is small consolation when you derail a reader.
Comprise. A mix is not comprised of ingredients; it comprises them. Trouble is, that sounds weird. Use “contains” instead.
In behalf. There really are instances calling for “in” instead of “on.” But few people know that, so even when you’re right you sound wrong.
Lie. I challenge you to conjugate lie correctly without sounding incorrect. Though “the truth lies here but earlier it lay there” is correct, cut your reader a break by finding another way to say it. Bonus tip: Do not confuse the past tense of lie, which is lay, with the present tense of lay, which is happens also to be lay.
Pace. Academics love to use pace, as in, “Pace Barnum, suckers are born every two minutes,” but real people have no clue what that means.
Obsolescent. A lot of people think it’s another, longer word for obsolete. “On its way out” is wordier but usually communicates better.
Infer. Too often confused with imply. Making readers sort it out diverts their focus from your message.
Fard. OK, I admit that no one speaks or writes this word anymore. I’m including it here for fun, and I faked the ad pictured above. Anyway, apt as it is, do not use fard, farding, and farded in a cosmetics ad. It is bad enough written, and only a fool would use it in audio.
*Besides, exactly what is an eighth grade reading level? I don’t know, and I bet you don’t, either.