Influence people

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tip #1 for the Business Writer

Use concrete nouns
Part 1 of a 5-part series on writing well.

Concrete nouns not only bring your writing to life, but signify to readers that you care about them.

Abstract nouns, on the other hand, are usually the sign of an indifferent writer.

Face it: abstract talk is easy.

Finding the right concrete noun is hard.

The indifferent writer, instead of doing the heavy lifting, simply labels general categories of things.

The result?

Readers are left with little or no grasp of the writer's point. 

Worse, they're left wondering if the writer even cares about connecting with them.


Here's an example (from Delta Airlines) of overusing abstract nouns:


Earth Day provides a great opportunity for us as an airline to reflect on the importance of sustainability efforts in our industry. We're proud to say we've made a lot of progress in recent years, yet remain aware of the work still ahead of us.


How might the writer have better said this by using concrete nouns?

Earth Day provides us a moment to reflect on Delta's responsibility to help sustain our planet. We're proud of the strides we've taken in recent years, yet aware there's work still ahead.

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