It's All In the Details: Why Descriptive Parts of Speech Are So Important
Earlier in the week I was challenged to describe my weekend without using a single adjective.
You know, those delightful words that describe nouns so beautifully.
I accepted the challenge, certain that someone with my copywriting skills could tackle it easily.
Two hours into the challenge, I was cursing the person who dared me to do it.
This is what I finally managed to pen:
"It is Monday. There is rain. I like rain. Productivity is my mission. I will write words for clients. They will bring sales and value. I will be caffeinated. I will accomplish much."
Two hours to write ten sentences.
Ten dull and robotic sounding sentences without adjectives.
It was painful.
And it was also a wake-up call to the current trends that are popular currently when writing copy. Trends and "rules" that don't seem to make written content better.
We live in an age of fitting everything into 100 characters or less in our social media posts. The "less is more" era of copywriting. But is it actually more?
Let's go back to the unassuming adjective. A good number of "experts" claim you should skip the use of adjectives. They claim such usage adds "uneccessary length to sentences." Adjectives are also considered to be "flowery" and "lend an insincere tone to your message."
Do they really? I think not. How many people do you hear speaking without adjectives? Do you think those ten sentences I wrote without using adjectives made me sound more sincere than if I had said "It's a rainy Monday?" It made me sound like someone you wouldn't want to hire to tell your brand story.
People speak descriptively. Why wouldn't we want to WRITE descriptively as well? Descriptive words are what captures the imagination and paints a picture in the mind. It allows for greater expression and understanding. Sure, people can overuse them, but to NOT use descriptive words would be like taking the color out of a rainbow. It isn't as impactful or interesting without them.
Another part of speech that gets attacked is the adverb. What does anyone have against something that describes an action? Let's look at an example:
Okay, so what? So do a lot of other people, several animals, along with my car on most days.
"I run quickly."
Now we know I'm not some slow, meandering slug in a pair of running shoes. I'm like the wind! (I'm really not, but you get my meaning).
One simple adverb defines my speed and clarifies how well I am able to accomplish the action.
Could it be that the anti-adverb crew is a group of slow runners who are trying to even the playing field by removing adverbs?
It's a theory to consider...hmmm...
Details are important. Descriptive words give detail to your messaging.
Think about how many poets, songwriters, and authors would be...well...not themselves if they hadn't used descriptive parts of speech? Would Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash be as iconic? Would Robert Frost or Ralph Waldo Emerson be classics? How about John Grisham or Stephen King? Would their books be as gripping without the use of adverbs or adjectives?
Now think about how your brand messaging sounds without them.
If you want to get the greatest impact from your content, the answer lies in finding a good balance. There's no reason you can't keep things concise and clear, while still adding a descriptive "human" element to your writing.
It's hard to pay attention to a monotonous voice. Writing without adverbs or adjectives is visual monotony. Give your readers/customers something interesting to hold their attention and make you memorable.
Sheral~ Owner/Founder of C3 Specialties
*no adverbs or adjectives were harmed in the writing of this blog