Perfect Grammar Is for Sales Sissies

If you’re like me, you’re not writing that banner advert, Web web site, or landing page to make your English trainer proud. You’re writing to promote.

If you get an “A” whilst you’re at it, extraordinary. But don’t count on it. To get possibilities to click, call, or buy, you’ll need to take a few liberties with the English language.

As direct-response legend Herschell Gordon Lewis so aptly said, “Grammar is our weapon, now not our god.”

Although copywriting requires a specific method than Strunk and White could endorse, don’t burn your grammar books simply but. It’s important to understand the regulations before you break them.

Following are a few regulations to preserve and a few rules to bend or destroy. But first an crucial precept.


Next time you face a grammar grappler, ask your self this question: Which word construction will be clearer to the chance or purchaser?

Clarity comes first as it’s the prescription for immediate comprehension. Copywriting that blurs meaning (which every now and then consists of grammatically ideal writing) slows analyzing and jeopardizes interest — and income.

WARNING: This isn’t license to play havoc with the English language. Literacy have to succeed. Following are some guidelines to preserve.

Rules to Keep

Subject and verb agreement. Whether you’re writing an infomercial or War and Peace, singular topics take singular verbs and plural topics take plural verbs. Always. A easy rule, execution is from time to time intricate. The secret is to really pick out the difficulty of the sentence.

The energetic voice. If you need your copywriting to have most punch, use the lively voice at every possibility. Active voice: I wrote the sentence. Passive voice: The sentence was written by way of me.

Use of Modifiers. Modifiers can motive a diffusion of problems. There are the questions of which and what number of modifiers to apply. Again, permit clarity be your manual. Also, negative placement of modifiers outcomes in confusion, your enemy. To make comprehension easy, put modifiers near the words they’re enhancing.

Rules to Bend or Break

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by means of Mark Twain ushered in a brand new technology in American literature. One of the main motives was Twain’s use of vernacular. He wrote the way people talked, a departure from the stiff, formal English not unusual in the course of the Victorian length.

For copywriters, writing the way human beings talk is genuinely critical.

Why? Because reproduction this is pleasant, casual and conversational stands a higher danger of having prospects to click, name or purchase. Which is precisely why sacrificing the subsequent conventions can be within the copywriter’s nice interest.

Ending sentences with a preposition. To some a no-no, finishing a sentence with a preposition can warm up your copywriting. Which sounds friendlier to you: “Here is the statistics you asked” or “Here is the data you asked for”?

Beginning sentences with a conjunction. Beginning sentences with conjunctions (and, or, however, nor) is more commonplace, even in journalism. Not most effective is it the way humans speak, it is able to shorten sentence period, a plus in handing over income messages.

Other informal gadgets. Use contractions to warm up your message. Also, use sentence fragments. Not only do they shorten average sentence period, they add rhythm. And drama.

Punctuation. Use punctuation to your selling gain. I’m inclined to apply more dashes and an occasional exclamation factor and ellipsis to add drama and pleasure to the sales message. Commas can be quite subjective, so I have a tendency to use the minimal quantity to preserve readers shifting thru the replica as quick as viable.

Parting Reminder

Keep that grammar e-book, stylebook, dictionary and different creator’s references nearby. You’re nevertheless going to need them.

But also don’t allow grammar be your god, or your next on-line merchandising can be a large sales flop.

(c) 2005 Neil Sagebiel

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