The sentence, “we’re baking blind people”, is a little shocking, until you realise that it’s missing a comma before people. The person who wrote the sentence – surprisingly – majored in English as part of her BA degree (she’s a lovely person, by the way, and not at all discriminating towards the vision-challenged).
It’s tempting, I know, to dismiss the ‘eats shoots and leaves’ brigade as pedants. How important can a comma be, really? Um, very. The example above is just a little one, without any financial implications. A couple of years ago, the Rogers telecommunications company in Canada lost millions of dollars in a lawsuit because the contract was missing a comma.
Language is a communication tool; when used inaccurately it is no longer effective (and may even cost you money).
But language is more than precision. It can make us laugh. Language can make us angry, sad, or glad. It can make us cry. And, yes, language can make us buy (there is a reason why sales messages are referred to as ‘calls-to-action’).
If there’s one thing I love more than the English language, it’s using it. Over the years I’ve written just about anything you can think of, with marketing or sales messages as particular specialities.
The story of Cyrano de Bergerac is pitched as romance, but it’s actually about a copywriter. A really, really effective one.
Whatever your communication needs, I’m here to write them (I may need to draw the line at love letters, though).
Call me Cyrano. Or is that: Call me, Cyrano.
Whatever. Just call me.