The meaning of words: allow

One of the most important tasks for any copywriter is to choose the right word.

Sometimes, words can have more than one meaning or can be interpreted differently by different people.

Take the word ‘allow’. This is often used in business writing, eg The computer’s new features allow you to do even more.

While the intention is to highlight the increased usefulness of the computer, allow suggests it gives you permission to do more with it. With many businesses aiming to offer the customer as much choice as possible, they won’t want to imply that customers need to be given permission to use a specific feature.

A better choice of word would be ‘enable’ as this suggests providing the customer with the tools or capability to do something instead of giving them permission.

It may not seem a big difference, but this can be important in terms of building brands and establishing the reputation of a company that cares for its customers.

That’s why choosing the right word is important.

Robert Zarywacz