English-Speaking Dummies

As a copywriter, I see my fair share of language faux-pas.

More often I’m witness to the complete butchering of words. The oblivious perpetrators leave them piled up in a bloody mess. It’s gruesome to see.

Anyway, here are a few of the incorrect usages I’d like to see stricken from the English language.

“I could care less” – Of course, they don’t really mean this. If they could care less, then that means they actually care! What they really mean is they couldn’t care less, in which case they don’t care at all.

“Save up to 50% off” – This is a phrase smash-up, and it’s ugly. You can save up to 50%. Or you can get up to 50% off. But you cannot “save off.” Sorry. (By the way, the ONLY reason people actually believe they can put these words on paper is because of the words “up to.” Remove them and you will see that no thinking person would ever say, “Save 50% Off!” But most people can’t concentrate long enough to figure this out.)

Ect. – Now, I realize English speakers aren’t usually proficient in Latin, but the word etcetera has been in common use long enough that most should know how to say it and contract it. It is not EXcetera; it is ETcetera. Therefore, the contraction is etc.

These are just a few examples of word wrecks that have been bugging me lately.

By the way, the lessons over at http://clickora.com/CopywritingCode won’t necessarily make you a better technical writer.

But they will make you a better persuasive writer.

That’s all for today,

-Ryan M. Healy

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like WordStream.com, SmallBizClub.com, and MarketingForSuccess.com.