October 14

John Carlton Copywriting Tips: Use This Word Sparingly


Brian-McElroyJohn Carlton gives an example of a word which must be used sparingly in an ad. It just fills up space. This hot seat is for Brian, who wrote a letter to launch an online product. He talks about using the word “that” in copy.

Video Transcript:

John…reading the copy: “Did you know?” Ok, that’s a phrase. “that”…You guys will read about “that” in the Elements of Style. Most “that”s can come out. The reason that the word “that” is wrong is that it is a repetitive word that causes a lot of problems in people’s minds. Usually you can take every single “that” out…not every single one, but now that it has been pointed out to you, you will start to see bad writing full of the word “that”.

Audience: Can we just take that out?

John: Well, do both. Every single “that” in your copy is on probation as you are going through the process, so it is on probation.

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