Verbs That Weaken Your Message

While I often stress that nouns and verbs are more important than adjectives or adverbs in developing a strong marketing message, certain verbs and verb combinations actually have a weakening effect.

Take the verb “can” for example. One of the best pieces of advice I received in my career as a writer was to eliminate the word “can” from writing, as in “We can deliver in 24 hours.” Either you deliver in 24 hours or you don’t. The word “can” adds nothing.

The future tense often results in the same dilution of your message: “We will make sure your project meets all specifications.” The more powerful statement is: “We make sure your project meets all specifications.” The future tense is irrelevant because this action is one you always take.

If you, as the business owner, want to hedge your bets, then promise delivery in 36 hours or retract a statement entirely, but do not insert “can” or “will” as a first line of defense against failure. If you don’t deliver on time, people will notice–and that’s a correct use of the future tense.

The verbs “is” and “are” may also create problems. For example, “We are manufacturers of quality toys.” The more concise and powerful statement is: “We manufacture quality toys.” Look through your documents for the is/of or are/of combination in a sentence and you will likely find a more interesting verb hidden away.

“We are engaged in the manufacturing of quality toys” should be “We manufacture quality toys.” The ing/of combination is another sign of an undermined marketing message.

The phrases “we always try to” or “we always strive to” are almost never needed. Whatever you are trying or striving or aiming to do, be like Nike and just do it.

When you own your actions, your readers credit you with more power, authority, and wisdom than when you pussyfoot around with “can,” “will,” and “try.” Be the authority they want you to be.

TWP Marketing & Technical Communications specializes in communicating strong messages fast. Contact me today.


Add Wow to Your Marketing Message, Part 1: Verb Magic

What a wealth of verb choices English gives us! Start with a sentence like this: “ABC Corporation is the world’s finest manufacturer of industrial robots.” With a little verb magic, it changes into: “ABC Corporation manufactures the world’s finest industrial robots.”

Or start with this: “ABC Corporation has the capability of designing your dream house.” Presto change-o, you have: “ABC Corporation will design your dream house.”

In both cases, the magic verb wand turned a weak noun form into a strong verb: manufacturer versus manufacture; designing versus design.

Stronger verbs also create tighter sentences, for faster delivery of your marketing message.

Search your marketing content for verbs disguised as nouns. Add wow to your message by transforming mumbling nouns into clear-speaking verbs.

Or contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications. Magic is our specialty.