Every language has rules and guidelines that we follow if we want our writing to make sense. Some rules are there to ensure that our writing reaches a certain standard - I’m sure you’ve read pieces of text that don’t follow basic language guidelines and cringe. But there is a very special skill to understanding when to break those rules - and how it can make your writing outstanding.
One simple tip to remember if you’re struggling to figure out when to be lexically subjective is to remember that the tone you’re writing dictates which rules to break and which to follow.
For an informal, conversational tone - for example, if you want to write a friendly-sounding blog post - you should be more subjective and aware of how your post flows. Don’t be afraid to start a sentence with ‘and’ - I hear from writers all the time that this is a pet peeve of theirs when reading a text, but this is one of my favourite rules to break! It keeps the flow from one sentence to the next as if someone is really talking to you through the screen. The word ‘and’ is one of my favourites in the entire English language. It can have such an impact if used correctly, sparingly, and especially at the start of a sentence. It also acts as an emotional trigger. Being able to incorporate the senses into your writing is a surefire way to make it stand above the rest in your market. If you’re interested in enhancing your copy by incorporating the senses, read about how you can use emotional triggers here!
If your copy has a serious, informative or formal tone, you’d be hard-pressed to find many lexical rules you can break and still make it work. Because of this, your copy will be naturally more objective. However, because when most people read a text will hear it spoken in their head, you have to make sure it flows regardless of whether it’s a conversational tone or a formal one, or you’ll lose your readers pretty quickly. People don’t want to have to work to understand what you’re writing, especially when it’s supposed to be your talent.
The best way to get feedback on your own writing is to read it as a 3rd party observer, not stopping to make any changes all the way through. As a copywriter, proof-reading should be a natural talent of yours anyway. Ask other people to read it too, and ask them what tone they get from the text.
So, why is writing subjectively and not objectively so important? And how do you know when to do it?
Well, there’s an example for you in my subheading. If you are asking the reader a rhetorical question, you can follow it up with another question starting with ‘and’. It gives your writing a personality - and this presses emotional triggers, based on what the purpose of your writing is for. It also creates a flow. You want your writing to act like a gentle tide - not like rough, choppy waves.
In a nutshell - if you want your copy to sound friendly, approachable and conversational, don’t be afraid to bend and break a few grammatical rules. As long as you’re still adhering to the imperative ones - capitalisation, basic grammar - it’ll work.
So, when do you break grammatical rules? Do you have any tips I haven’t mentioned in this blog post?