A Little Bit Pregnant

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I heard a commercial on the radio yesterday that made me laugh…but not because the ad was intended to be funny.  It was the type of ad I call “English-challenged”.

The ad copy (for which business I don’t remember) claimed the sale now underway was “…the most unique in the area!”

Pardon me.  Have the people who wrote this copy opened a dictionary lately?  Apparently not.

Unique is defined as being one of a kind; standing alone. Nothing else like it.  This means “unique” is not subject to modification.  It cannot be more or less; it is either one of a kind or it is not.  Sort of like being pregnant.  You either are or you aren’t.

But this is not a surprise.  Language on the Radio (and TV) is tortured and twisted every day.  Perhaps the most egregious offenses are the meaningless phrases that occupy the majority of ads.  Examples:

  • Save like never before (I got this product free last week, a 100% savings; are you now going to pay me to take it?)
  • Unbelievable savings (You’re right—I don’t believe it)
  • Incredible bargains (Bargains with no credibility; I’ll be right there)
  • Conveniently located (Convenient for me is across the street…I’m looking but I don’t see your store there)

These are just a few.  Feel free to supply your own in the comments.

Depending on the size of your station and the local practices, you’re either occasionally writing ad copy or you’re writing it every day.  Take the time to brush up on alternative words (a thesaurus is a great tool to have within easy reach) and break free of the mediocrity and misuse of our language.  Your ads will sound better, and maybe even produce better results.