One hundred million trillion ways to sum up your business

This entry was posted on Monday, February 16th, 2009 at 10:50 PM

Whatever you’re writing, whether it’s  a business letter, web page, newsletter item, or brochure,  finding the right words isn’t easy.  You have to choose words that clearly and succinctly sum up your business, service or product . And they have to resonate with your audience. But if you think that’s difficult how about this for a fact? There are up to one hundred million trillion ways you could write a 20 word sentence.

Being a mathematical dummy I found it really difficult to get my head around. But there it is in chapter two of Steve Pinker’s book ‘How the Mind Works’.

According to Pinker, “ten is in fact the approximate geometric mean of the number of word choices available at each point in assembling a grammatical and sensible sentence.”

So ten choices for the first word.  Ten for the second. Ten for the third.  That gives you three thousand words to play around with to open your sentence. Agggh!!

No wonder Billy Crystal’s character spent most of Throw Momma from the Train pondering how to end the sentence ‘the night was …’  Momma saved the day with sultry.

But it just shows that writing good, engaging, sparkling, punchy copy is no mean feat.

And I have no idea what a geometric mean is.

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Hello. I'm Elaine, I'm a copywriter and this is my blog.

It's mostly about words and writing - things that inspire me, entertain me, and make me smile. Sometimes it's about things that horrify me so much I want to scream and shout!

I hope you enjoy it and find it useful. And speaking of useful - scroll down and take a look at the Oxford Dictionaries tool.

Click here to find out a bit more about me.

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