COPY POINT: On The Loose

The first step to breaking free from journalese is to stop using words and phrases that come to you automatically; force yourself to replace them with language you would use in a one-on-one conversation.

Exhibit A – “On The Loose”.

It has it’s place – “There is a snake on the loose in my apartment. There is a moose on the loose in the city.”

I get it. But do we want to have criminals “freed from their confinement and roaming aimlessly.”

Why do I suspect the criminal is hiding, running, plotting more crimes – it would indeed be a rare criminal just roaming around aimlessly.

Let’s add “On The Loose” to the words best saved for escaped animals and look for words that do a better job of explaining the comings and goings of our criminals.

Advertisements

COPYPOINT: Using age in your copy

Those of you who have worked closely with me know I am a stickler about writing.  We must write clear and easy-to-understand sentences.  

Sometimes, we sabotage that effort with the words we choose.  That’s why, from time to time, you will receive COPYPOINTS from me.  Here is the first:

 Let’s avoid starting sentences with the age of the subject of the sentence. i.e. “26‑Year old Kevin Hirschfield was shot to death while..”

 Its a non‑starter.

No one talks like that. (Except on TV and at the police station!)

If age is important, take the time to explain why. 

Example: Hirschfield, who is 26, is much older than the teens who attacked him.

 Unless someone is very old, or very young, their age probably can be relegated to a place deeper in the sentence, or the story.

READ THE ENTIRE COPY POINTS SERIES