Wordplay: When to Use Force

A force to be reckoned with. The driving force. A tour de force. Stylish expressions or clichés? It doesn’t matter. At least, not yet. What you need to consider first is why you’d use any of these. What are you really trying to say? The easy choice is to grab a familiar phrase. Everyone knows what it means (or so you think), so you can get away with doing less work. Peak productivity. It’s the perfect solution. Don’t kid yourself. The easy way is often the lazy one. If you’re as committed to your business and as passionate as you claim to be, then why would you use worn out expressions in your copywriting? You can’t show your audience you’re remarkable with an average message. Do you know exactly what “a force to be reckoned with” means? (It’s worth investigating. Sometimes digging a little deeper gives you fresh insights.) Does you audience know what it means? Does the phrase fit precisely with the idea you want to convey? Precision matters, especially when dealing with the short attention span of online readers. People don’t have to settle for mediocrity when a whole universe of products and services are just a few clicks away. People are less likely to engage when they’re already frustrated by boring, unclear copy. They’re  running out of patience, so they’re halfway out the door before they even find you. With that in mind, let’s go a little deeper: what do you mean by “force”? The origin of the word is the Latin fortis, which means strong. It has both positive and negative meanings—force refers not only to strength, but also to coercion and violence. Context is important. Any of these three phrases could be a perfect fit, depending on how they’re presented. The words and images around them can change their impact. What looks like a throwaway expression in one setting might be the smartest choice in another. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short story or copywriting. Every word matters. In physics, force means “an influence on a body or system, producing or tending to produce a change in movement or in shape or other effects”. If you want smart, high-quality customers, don’t ask them to settle for halfhearted, I-had-to-do-it writing. Influence people with smart copy and compelling ideas instead. Get the Lowdown delivered straight to your inbox — click here to subscribe.

 

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