Web Writing Part 4: Odds, Ends and Pet Peeves
In any communication, be it graphic, written or verbal, do it as if …
“You’re Sending a Telegram to a Moron
at a Thousand Dollars a Word!”
Just Because Other People Abuse The Language Doesn’t Give You Permission
While on the subject of widely abused words, I’d like to point out a few of my pet peeves.
You may have it for free!
NO NO NO x 103 NO!
You may have it free! The word for implies in exchange for something, and that something should be a noun. Free is not a noun, it’s an adjective.
This will impact our bottom line.
The suspects escaped in a Blue van.
The police are searching for three suspects …
NO AGAIN! The police are NOT looking for suspects, they are looking for perpetrators. This one irritated me to the point of giving it a page of its own.
“Irregardless” is not a #$%&! standard word!
It’s Nuclear, not Nucular, ‘irregardless’ of how many Presidents pronounce it that way.
Don’t make up new words when an existing word works.
Our government is primarily responsible for this one, but the media had a hand in it.
The pace of change, especially in technology and entertainment is such that new words are constantly entering the language, first as slang, and eventually as “Webster Approved.”
Of course, language evolves along with culture. I can write: “I ‘tweeted’ something I ‘Googled’ to the people I ‘friended’ in ‘cyberspace,’ including my BFF,” and most people know what I am describing.
Why, however, invent a new word, “incentivise,” for example, meaning “to motivate?”
The existing and still politically correct ‘motivate,’ or even the wordy phrase “‘provide incentives for,” work quite well.
This leads to further corruption with the invention of conjugations, synonyms and antonyms to the new but redundant words — “Disincentivise” and “Reincentivise” are only two examples.
These hurtle further down the word clutter road to absurdities like; incentivisation, disincentivisation and a very disturbing pseudo-disincentivisation, meaning: pretending to demotivate when your true purpose is to motivate.
We once called that “reverse psychology,” and nobody misunderstood what we meant.
Big words impress only shallow people unless they are both understood by the audience and essential to the topic.
Sentence fragments are OK on web pages if they are not abused.
Sentence fragments are usually acceptable in photo or item captions and Image ALT tags if they communicate the desired message to your target audience.
Did I mention that lacking
design purpose, center
justified text can be
difficult and occasionally
Multiple Punctuation Marks At The End of a Sentence Are Sophomoric!!!!
And you may quote me on that!!!
There are Rules, and Then There Are Guidelines.
and “Grammar Nazis” lurk everywhere.
That being said, however …
Most Anything is OK if it Genuinely Helps Communicate YOUR message!
(And doesn’t make you appear illiterate in the process)
Part 1: The Prime Directive
Part 2: Close only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes.
Part 3: Cut the extra words, less really is more.
Part 4: Odds, Ends and Pet Peeves
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