Amazing: an Overworked and Often Mis-used Word

It happened again. A lesser-known company in the genealogy business sent a press release to me this morning, obviously hoping I would publish it in my newsletter. After reading the announcement, I wasn’t very impressed with this new product. However, what really turned me off was the frequent use of the word “amazing.”

“This amazing new product…”

“These amazing stories…”

“You will be amazed…”

It sounded like an infomercial on late-night television from Ronco-Popeil. “This amazing product slices and dices…”

I wasn’t too impressed with the rest of the announcement, either. Once I mentally removed the word “amazing” from the announcement, all that was left was a rather unamazing announcement of a new addition to an existing web site that apparently duplicates what many other web sites already offer. I am not publishing the announcement here.

I will offer two pieces of advice:

1. To any company or other organization that sends out press releases: Write announcements, not advertisements that sound like stupid television commercials. Tone down the hyperbole.

2. To everyone else: Whenever you read or hear the word “amazing” or any other, similar words in commercials or announcements, hang on to your wallet really tight. The thing that is described as “amazing” probably isn’t. Also, I suggest you count the number of exclamation marks. It strikes me the more exclamation marks used in the announcement or advertisement, the less the product is probably worth.

7 Comments

Katherine R. Willson April 30, 2014 at 6:29 am

You crack me up. I just laughed so hard at “advertisements that sound like stupid television commercials” that I spewed coffee all over my laptop screen. That is SOOO something I would say. :-) Thanks for making my morning. :-)

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I hope Katherine’s laptop survived the incident :-)

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Uh, oh. I say this all the time, and I used to say “terrific” before I realized it actually implies terror! Looks like I’ll need to find some different adjectives. :-)

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Got a better idea: Get RID of adjectives. Stick with verbs. Your copy move more people.

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An amazing job, Dick! [oops….]

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Agreed. I also do not like the all too frequent use of ‘issue’ instead of problem; and what ever happened to now and then? (Think ‘at this time’ and ‘at that time.’)

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Man, you are amazingly critical today!!!!!!!!!!

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