Just as it has for more than 40 years, Lake Superior State University
recently released its
annual list of words for banishment.
The list is certainly worth reviewing for writers and marketers who are (or
should be) bound by sacred oath to keep language simple and jargon-free.
Lake Superior State proposes eliminating such gobbledygook as
“nothingburger,” “onboarding/offboarding” and “fake news”—although that
last term might be here to stay.
As a counterpoint to the banished word list, Wayne State University
released its ninth annual
Word Warriors list, a collection of words it would like to revive. Among the exhumations are
“eucatastrophe” (a happy ending), “frangible” (fragile or brittle),
“nugatory” (of no value) and “couth,” which sounds like something we could
use more of these days.
Jerry Herron, a member of the Word Warriors editorial board, says
reintroducing words like these into our daily conversations will “expand
our ability to communicate clearly and help make our world a more
interesting place.” Now, I’m all for vocabulary expansion, but there are
reasons why words like “eucatastrophe” died. Archaic, perplexing words
should remain resting peacefully in the lexicon graveyard. We have enough
trouble communicating clearly right now.
[RELATED: 10 ways to improve your writing today]
As the content marketing field becomes increasingly crowded, it’s more important than ever to have a solid understanding of the people
you’re trying to reach. Understanding how your audience prefers to
communicate is the first step toward crafting content that resonates with
them. With all due respect to the Word Warriors list, that language
probably does not include the likes of “eucatastrophe.”
In all your marketing endeavors, I suggest using simple, plain language.
People have little time to absorb content marketing, so it’s the easily
digested messages that will win the day.
This doesn’t mean you should write in a puerile way that insults your
audience. Develop unique, authoritative content, but engage your audience
without making them reach for the dictionary.
Write short sentences and short paragraphs. Choose the simple word
(“worthless”) over the obscure (“nugatory”) one. Before publishing,
check your Flesch-Kincaid Readability Statistics, and streamline your writing.
Are there other words you’d like to deep-six? Please let us know in the
A version of this post first appeared on the
Samoray Communications blog.