What’s in a Word?

As a writer, you’d think I would inherently recognize the power one word – specifically the right word – can be.  But every once in a while, we all need reminders.

I first saw it a month or so ago when I was jogging.  It surprised me a little, because I noticed it.  There are so many around, my mind just usually glosses right over them when I see them.  It was a realtor sign.  Nothing special.  Like I said, they’re everywhere right now.  I can’t jog or drive anywhere without seeing them.  But this one made me look; and not just at the sign, but at the house.  At first I didn’t get it.  Until I realized what was different.

Most realtors include the following signs in their repertoire: “For Sale”, “Sale Pending” and “Sold”.  But the sign catching my eye as I jogged by that day said “Gone”.   At first I wondered, but then it made sense.  We see “Sold” signs so often, we don’t pay attention.  And why would we.  The house is already sold; even if we were looking.  But the word “Gone” implies that we’re just too late.  Like we’ve missed something.  And so, we look, because we want to know what it was that we missed.

With one word they make us notice their sign, note their name, and feel like we lost out a little.  Which means next time we are in the market for the house, we just might think of them.  And all because they said “Gone” instead of “Sold”.  I wonder if they planned it that way.

So next time you’re laboring over getting that one word right, remember it’s not pointless.  The power of words at work.  All you need is one: it can make all the difference.


~ S.D. Bullard


~ by sdbullard on August 28, 2013.

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