Take this from a person who has made their share of writing boo-boos. I rarely have a perfect first draft of anything I write. I have learned (painfully) to carefully go over what I write and almost invariably discover something that would be embarrassing to publish. This is especially critical when writing advertising copy destined be read by great multitudes.
Today I came across this example:
“Over time, this can add to unwanted weight gain that you do not want.”
A good, solid edit would have discovered this and restructured it. Unwanted mistakes like this are something you do not want.
Part of an advertisement for a fancy thermostat: “Instant readings are available within 10 seconds.”
My immediate reaction was how can it be both? It is either instant or it is within ten seconds.
Of course, there’s “instant” and then there’s “real quick.” When I was a kid, we used to play outside (those were different times) and, come suppertime or bedtime my mother would say, “Come inside this instant!” “We’re coming!” we’d reply…but we weren’t doing any such thing. We were still playing. We were going to squeeze every bit possible out of the interval between her expectation and our compliance. She wanted instant action; we wanted to delay her desire in favor of ours for as long as we could. It was a delicate balance between what she wanted and what we thought we could get away with.
When my wife (who, incidentally, is a gourmet cook whose culinary creations are not to be missed) tells me “Dinner is ready,” I know she means that I should stop studying, writing, carving or gardening, and wash my hands, a process taking up to five minutes or so. It really means, “Dinner will be ready about the time you have finished getting ready to come to the table.” We have that understanding developed in our nearly fifty years of marriage.
So, I’ll give you all of that but I still don’t understand how something can be “instant” with the possibility of a ten-second delay. Sorry, advertising agency, I can’t let you get away with such a contradictory claim. You might call it nitpicking. You can feel free to express that in the comment section and I will instantly give you my reply sometime.
Since I changed the host for my gardening blog, “West Texas Gardener: Sun, Wind, Sweat and Mulch” (http://westexasgardener.com) I have been the target of spam (no, not the salty stuff that comes in cans). On my old free site a program automatically eliminated spam but now, unless I want to pay over $5 a month for an automatic “spaminator,” I have to do it myself. Not a problem…yet…since I moderate all comments. It takes a few minutes to read the nonsensical blatherings, immediately recognize they are trash and consign them to the electronic garbage bin. Here’s an example from today:
“Nice bothering to debate this method, I think honestly a lot also true love exploring read more about this method subject matter. Any time likelihood, like you achieve competencies, do you ever reactions adding to your entire journal by using furthermore facts? This is very ideal for my home.”
Since I was not debating a method and know nothing about “true love exploring” and “furthermore facts,” it was an obvious ploy. Sometimes they are in some Eastern European Cyrillic script which probably translates to something akin to, “My name Peggy” or my quote above. It is an effort to slip their URL into the path of unsuspecting comment-readers. Can you imagine a job requiring you to go through the millions of blogs and try to surreptitiously slip some stupid site address into the comment section? BORING!