Is that adjective redundant?

This is a great blog. I know that because I wrote it myself.

What?

All right, it’s a blog, but who says it’s great?

That’s the trouble with adjectives. You can slip them into text here and there and they sound fine until someone else reads them.

As a newspaper writer, I cut adjectives. Press releases tell me that a development is ‘exciting’ or a product is ‘unique’. When I read these words, I look for proof. Too often it is not there. I cut the adjectives.

At one time I used such words myself until I realised that few things are truly ‘great’ and that it’s unlikely that someone really ‘loves’ cake. Perhaps we’d better not go there.

Of course, we are often excited by our own work, but we are biased. Will everyone think the same? Perhaps customers are excited and will be happy to be quoted in a press release, although it could still be a minority opinion.

If you have facts to prove that an event attracted the ‘biggest’ audience recorded or that a product has won an award as the ‘best’ of its type, then do make the most of these achievements. Superlatives can be powerful when they are accurate.

So I know this is not the ‘greatest’ blog you’ve ever read and I won’t pretend it is.

 

5 Comments

  • […] The trouble with adjectives is that you can slip them into text here and there and they sound fine until someone else reads them.  […]

  • Sarupa Shah

    13-Aug-13 at 4:39 pm Reply

    Hmmm I get what you are saying, but adjectives also connect to the emotions – which for a lot of writing is important, wouldn’t you agree?

    • robertz

      13-Aug-13 at 5:41 pm Reply

      Hello Sarupa. Yes, adjectives are very important, but a press release promoting something needs to be factual. I’ve received press releases where the writer has used the word ‘exciting’ three times. Perhaps they felt it was exciting, but the press release did not convey that to me. If a customer says something is ‘exciting’, that is a valid comment to quote. However, if someone claims that a product is the ‘biggest’, the ‘best’ or similar, as a journalist I need proof.

  • Angelika Davey

    13-Aug-13 at 9:29 pm Reply

    A bit like an expert. If people tell me that somebody else is an expert I listen to them. If they talk about themselves I don’t 😉

    • robertz

      14-Aug-13 at 8:39 am Reply

      Me too, Angelika.

Leave a Reply