Tuesday, January 30, 2007

[lexicon] the power of certain words

As every advertiser knows, the impeccably-placed word speaks volumes. Talking shop a little here, these seven words can alter perceptions:

1] really, as in: “She’s really quite marvellous for her age,” which one is not expecting her to be and you, personally, wish to convince the listener by taking it as read;

2] should, as in: “Should you see her, give her a message, would you?” which immediately, geographically and demographically pinpoints you;

3] I believe, as in Christie’s: “Raymond’s books are really quite clever, I believe,” which speaks for itself;

4] marvellous, as used above, which immediately identifies you as of a certain standard of education and of a certain age;

5] damned, as in: “The damned imbeciles,” which identifies you as a knockabout lad of a certain station in society;

6] quite, in combination and alone, as in your rejoinder to a tall tale of excuse: “Quite!”; and

7] the American: “Yeah, right,” which is the rare double positive as negative.

Pity we can’t show gestures through print as I’m given to using the raised eyebrow [always one], the stony silence, the long drawn-out: “Yes” and the bashful smile with the reddening cheeks, the litany of the rogue.

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