Use Your Words—Whether Whining or Writing on Wine

Every now and then I use “big words” both on this blog, on my other media endeavors, and in my work as a publicist. There is and always has been a debate among marketing professionals as to what level of vocabulary ought to be employed in order to properly deliver a marketing or promotional or sales message. It’s an interesting debate.

I fall on the “use-the-word-that best fits-regardless-of-its-obscurity” side of the debate, rather than the “keep-it-simple-stupid” approach. There’s a middle ground in this debate, but it isn’t occupied by many partisans.

This debate over marketing vocabulary has its own variant in the wine industry. Some folks despise the idea of using what them seem like obscure references when describing a wine. I’ve witnessed folks despair over the use of simple phrases like “red currant”, “cigar box” and “wet stone” as they claim that since so few people know these aromas or tastes that using them amounts to dereliction of duty.

My argument is this: If my job is to describe a wine with words, then I ought to use those words (and phrases) that most accurately describe what I smelled or tasted. Likewise, if I’m writing a press release or a story pitch or promotional copy I’m going to use the word that most precisely describes what I mean to communicate, even if it’s obscure for the simple reason that precision is almost always better than convenience when it comes to communication.

My philosophy in this debate is simple: USE YOUR WORDS and you are never too young or old to learn this approach to communication.


3 Responses

  1. Jeff Kralik - September 18, 2014

    Great, no, fantasmagorical (better word) video.

  2. Chris Kassel - September 18, 2014

    Agree wholesoully. I get called out for ‘showing off’ by using words which are both absurdly accurate and ludicrously noteworthy, and I don’t get the objection: Personally, I love coming across words that I have to look up; that’s part of the joy of learning. On the other hand, I never get called out for making up words, which I do with equal regularity.

  3. Tom - September 22, 2014

    If using an unfamiliar word will make the writing better, I vote for using it — as long as you can provide a definition. That way you’re writing better and providing an education.

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