The Bread and (Not) Butter

I’ve said time and time again that I’ve been busy. But lately it has been much more than busyness that eats my time and licks its fingers for the sauce of it. We’re talking moving and fire and storms and concerts and work, work, work, and couch hunts. We’re talking cleaning and cooking and coughing. We’re talking busy-busy not just busy (you know, like the childhood descriptions of romance: I like-like you. Then a blush.). This is my excuse. This is my life.

Sometimes I think I’m allergic to it.

I apologize in advance for the brevity of this post. My hope is to be back in the writing swing this week.

The result will be (hopefully) epic.

For now, because I have been buying groceries all too often, I will lend a thought about one of the simple margarine titles of my teen-hood. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! is not just a spread, it is an exercise in the use of conjunctions and punctuation, and the necessity in choosing words carefully and with intent.

The original: I can’t believe it’s not butter!

The edits:

I can’t believe it isn’t butter!

I can’t believe it is not butter!

I cannot believe it isn’t butter!

I cannot believe it is not butter!

I cannot believe it’s not butter!

It is not butter? I cannot believe!

you get the idea.

In advertising, headlines, titles—in all of it—the choice of words reflects both the writer’s style and the intended audience. The simplicity of the original phrase, the product’s name, applies emphasis evenly to both the act of believing and the product sans butter. In other examples, either the balance shifts depending on the use of conjunction, or the balance exists, but is too wordy for the front of a tub. Customers, readers, aren’t always looking for a mouthful. Believe that.

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