Lazy Language and Alphabet Soup
Not far my home in the Cotswolds, there’s a new cluster development of “Luxury Homes” nearing completion on a greenfield site. Actually, more than likely on a greenfield site near you, too, if you
live in anywhere in the English countryside.
Every time I drive past the advertising board that loudly and proudly announces the arrival of these identikit homes (perfect for the modern executive), I chuckle at the wording they employ to promote the “just” eight detached properties.
An Executive Collection of Luxury Homes
Never mind the only-to-be-expected hyperbole, I find myself questioning if a collection of homes can,
in fact, be “executive” or whether it’s the homes themselves that are supposed to be for executives?
A few miles down the road, there’s a competing offering, differentiated at least in the words used to describe how it’s positioned and described.
A Luxury Collection of Exclusive Homes
Is one truly an executive collection of luxury homes and the other a luxury collection of exclusive homes or is this fundamentally the same message expressed differently but with equal laziness and disregard for language? I understand the promise of a luxury home but in what way is the second collection “luxury” and the homes “exclusive”, I wonder? Exclusive to me if I purchase? I’d hope so for the prices asked. Or is “exclusive” just another (tautologous) way of making sure I understand we’re talking about luxury, right? Gilding the proverbial lily.
In the short drive between the second development and home, I have fun seeing how many variants and discrete propositions I can fashion from the same elements and epithets:
An Exclusive Collection of Luxury Homes
A Collection of Exclusive Luxury Homes
A Collection of Luxury Exclusive Homes
Home to a Collection of Exclusive Luxury
Home to an Exclusive Collection of Luxury
Exclusively Collecting Homes of Luxury
A Homely Collection of Luxury Exclusives
Luxury Exclusive: A Collection of Homes
No doubt there are more. Semantics perhaps, pedantic even, you may say, but each arrangement of the words conveys a different meaning or at least it should do. But this doesn’t seem to occur to copywriters responsible for real estate marketing.
And then, I came across the property advertisement reproduced above, which prompted the penning of this piece. This time, it’s an “exclusive collection” but look how many wonderful, persuasive, compelling, descriptive, irresistible and generic qualities they’ve managed to append to those, yes, “just” six homes, although I will concede that the poor lily pictured does look as if it needs all the help it can get.
Dennis Potter once keenly observed, “the trouble with words is that you never know whose mouths they have been in.”
Caveat Emptor if those words have sprung from the jaws of a property developer or their agents!