How using Anglo-Saxon words will help you write better copy

Too many of us hide behind flowery language and complicated vocabulary when we start writing. There’s a warped logic that suggests the fewer people who understand a piece of writing, the better it must be.

But it’s an unusual marketplace in which a business will attract new customers by talking down to them and making it as hard as possible to uncover the true meaning behind a message.

Shorter and simpler

Often the words that are building blocks of this sort of unnecessarily complicated writing are rooted in Latin. There’s nothing particularly wrong with them, except they’re probably being used instead of a shorter, simpler and more easily understood alternative.

The straightforward option is usually Anglo-Saxon in origin.

In most cases, these are the words that we would normally use in conversation. They are the words that we put into the Microsoft Word thesaurus in search of something that sounds ‘better’. And they are the words that best get your message across to customers.

That’s why they’re the words you ought to rely upon in your business communication.

A few examples…

Latin Anglo-Saxon
Depart Leave
Novel New
Adjacent Near
Arrive Come
Expectation Hope
Penchant Like
Pensive Thoughtful
Purchase Buy

Head vs heart

It’s not just about comprehension – relying mainly on Anglo-Saxon words is likely to bring in more sales.

As those examples show, the Anglo-Saxon words tend to be punchier than those of Latin origin. This punch gives the words a bit more emotion.

In other words, the Latin words appeal to the head, while Anglo-Saxon words work on the heart. When you’re trying to get someone to buy from you, going for the heart makes for a much easier sale.

You might feel the Latin words are a bit fancier, but that doesn’t make them more effective. There’s no need to do away with Latin-based words completely – just bear in mind that keeping it simple might be the best option.


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