Copy - "Keep it Short" isn't just for websites

My favourite quote of all time for copywriters is: "If I'd had more time I would have written a shorter letter" - Mark Twain. There is almost nothing worth saying that can’t be said better with fewer words. One great thing about the web is that the way people consume text on it means you have to be brutal about this.

Standing on the underground platform looking at the latest ad in a long line of those verbose Jack Daniels ads. It reads OK until I get to this sentence about their master distiller tasting the whiskey: 'He rarely ever swallows it'. What does the 'ever' add to that sentence? A good example of redundancy in language if ever I saw one. Still it's an American brand, and they are the past masters in verbal redundancy.

It reminds me of an English lesson at school in the politically incorrect seventies, and our English teacher flapping his gown (really) and berating a hapless American boy in our class who has used the unfortunate phrase: 'kind of like' - "Dear boy, that's a tautology. You can use 'like' if you like, or 'kind of' if you have to, but not both...


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