Why You Never Ever Ever Ever Need So Many Adverbs

5 Fab Copywriting Formulas that Boost Sales

Ok, I’m really, really, really annoyed at the superfluous use of adverbs both in songs, copywriting, and everyday language. Carly Rae Jepsen: did you really need to use that term 67 times in “I really Like You? Or, Taylor Swift: was it necessary to sing the word “ever” 28 times in “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together Again?”

  1. Eliminate Modifiers!

Compare this sign:

  • Original: We Can Help Restore Your Credit Score Today!
  • My Revision: Restore Your Credit Score Today!

OR

  • Original: I’m very eager to meet with you!
  • My Revision: I’m eager to meet with you!

See how the helping words don’t help?

  1. Write In The Present Tense:

Don’t send a proposal promosing deliverables in the future.

  • Original: We will create 25 taglines
  • My Revision: We create 25 taglines
  1. Can the “Can’s”
  • Original: We Can Help You Build Your Biz
  • My Revision: We Build Your Biz in 5 Ways
  1. ALWAYS Use Numbers Vs. Letters
  • My Revision: 5 Fab Formulas for Faster Writing
  • Original: Five Simple Tips For Faster Writing
  1. Alliterations Allow For Amazing Answers To Annoying Copy Questions
  • Original: Six Ideas for Getting More Blog Followers
  • My Revision: 6 Insider Secrets to More Bloggers…and More Sales!

What are your copywriting rules? Share in the comments below!

5 Comments
  1. Here’s another one: “-ing” is not “bling”–it’s BORing!” Whenever you see a verb ending in “ing,” try to find a way to ACTIVATE it: Change “We’ll be goING” to “We’ll go.” Nix the “ings” to keep your readers engaged! Get more tips on clear, concise writing at http://allmybest.com/asp/Writing-Tips-by-All-My-Best-Clear-Concise-Writing.asp

  2. One concern regarding the #3 example, in which “We Can Help You Build Your Biz” is changed to “We Build Your Biz in 5 Ways”: The former describes a team effort, whereas the latter misleads clients to believe they won’t have to do anything to help build the biz except pay the fee to get it done.

    • Thanks for all of the good comments!

      I certainly understand the assumption that “helps” help, but the direct approach is harder, stronger, and closes more sales.

      Hmmmm; not sure if “we build your biz in 5 ways” implies that they are off the hook. In coaching, it’s always a team effort. I’m letting it marinate, Lynette.

  3. Liz,

    Thanks so much for this blog! As a copywriter and editor, I am weary of eliminating “very,” “really” and many other useless adjectives and adverbs that weaken the writer’s message. Not to mention changing passive tense to active voice.

    • Thanks for adding about the passive voice, I hate it! I too prefer the active voice too.

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