Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Positivity and simplicity is key! Here’s how you can slice away the “fat” in your copies! [Tuesdays: “Write with the Pen of the Masters”]

April 20, 2021

Ernest Hemingway is one of the greatest writers that ever existed.

No doubt about that.

Even F. Scott Fitzgerald, the literary mastermind behind the book, “The Great Gatsby,” was so impressed with Hemingway that he said:

“I’d look him up right away. He’s the real thing.”

Up to this day, Hemingway’s prose is popular among novelists, poets, and marketers. There’s even an app called the Hemingway Editor, which helps writers write with more brevity.

As a copywriter, is it also part of your goal to be both “bold and clear” in your drafts―even without using an app?

If your answer is “yes,” awesome!

Here’s how you can apply some of Hemingway’s writing techniques in your copies:

  1. Use one-syllable words more often than not.

    Take a look at the first paragraph of Hemingway’s book titled, “A Farewell to Arms”:

    “In the late summer of that year, we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river, there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees. The trunks of the trees were too dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves.”

    Anything you notice on that excerpt?

    Out of 126 words, you’ll find 103 words that only have one syllable!

    Whether or not this was Hemingway’s natural writing style, one thing is for sure:

    The excerpt above is a good book introduction that paints a CLEAR picture and uses words that even a 6th grader can understand.

    The main takeaway for this point?

    One way to accomplish simplicity and clarity in your writing is to use more one-syllable words instead of two-or-more-syllable words.

    For example: Instead of writing…

    “Our enterprise has been in existence for approximately 50 years.”

    You may use…

    “We have been at work for longer than most folks have been alive.”

    While the second sentence is longer, it feels punchier because of the use of more one-syllable words.

    However, you don’t have to feel pressured to do this in all your copies. If you think using a lot of one-syllable words is not appropriate or doesn’t suit your writing style, then you don’t have to force your way into it.

    Effectively delivering your message and making sure your readers understand your copies should still be your top priority.

  2. Write using positive language as much as possible.

    “I’m not lying to you.”

    Even though the word “not” is present in the sentence above, the sentence might still raise some suspicion.


    It’s because your listener or reader will still subconsciously focus on the word “lying.”

    So… what can be a solution to this?

    One way is to use positive language by saying:

    “I’m telling the truth.”

    Some marketers and copywriters are known for using words that tend to appeal to people’s negative emotions to make positive claims about a brand.


    “Our systems are flawless.

    “Our mixers are pain-free to use.”

    “You won’t lose sleep when you’re working with us!”

    While there are no sources that state these sentence constructions should be avoided at all cost, you can make your brand’s positive claims sound actually positive by saying:

    “Our systems are superb.

    “Our mixers are smooth and easy to use.

    “You’ll sleep like a baby if you decide to work with us!”

    See? You may write your copies or taglines this way and still make an impact! Doing so will also make your outputs more vibrant and straightforward for your readers to understand.

  3. Slice away the fat―the “-ly” adverbs!

    Before we proceed with our main point, let’s first recall what an adverb is.

    An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.

    Examples of adverbs used in sentences are:

    “The girl screamed loudly.

    “The cat clawed the passerby harshly.

    “The squirrel rapidly climbed up the tree.”

    While using a few adverbs in your copies is acceptable, you have to be mindful that when these words are used improperly, they can make your statements sound a bit redundant.

    For instance: If a girl screams, you’ll think that it’s loud even without using the word “loudly.” In the case of the cat, just by reading or hearing the word “clawed,” you might imagine that the animal is harsh and could’ve wounded the passerby. Similarly, a squirrel naturally moves quickly, so it’s not necessary to add the adverb “rapidly” in the sentence.

    If you’re guilty of including “-ly” adverbs in a lot of your copies, don’t beat yourself up!

    Just remember: You have to use these words sparingly.

Copywriters, writers, and marketers make a living first and foremost through effective communication.

This means in whatever genre they’re writing in or topic they’re writing about, readers must be able to understand the message of the copies.

One of the ways to achieve this?

By writing in SIMPLE and POSITIVE language!

Keep in mind that it’s okay to sometimes use flowery language in your copies… but you have to make sure you maintain a balance between flowery and simplicity in your drafts.

Take note of these tips as you write your marketing copies and unleash the inner Hemingway in you!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Write with the Pen of the Masters”

Who doesn’t find content writing to be a skill that requires a lot of practice and effort?

In fact, many people may even find copywriting very intimidating.

However, you can be a good writer as long as you have the right tools. You won’t always get things right the first time, but with enough time and practice, you’ll get the hang of it!

When you write a copy for any brand or for your company, your aim is to make an impact and…

…to get people to remember.

Getting people to remember means getting consumers to buy your product or to avail of your service.

And when you get your content to deliver the results you want, THAT is a great copy!

Every Tuesday, we publish content based on tips and insights from the masters of content writing, copywriting, and storytelling.

Become more familiar with ways to write great copy that helps you gain ROI from your efforts, drive profitability, and achieve your business goals.

Learn time-tested tactics that better capture the attention of your target audience, and maximize the benefits of great copywriting.

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Write with the Pen of the Masters!”


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
Powered by Valens Research

View All

You don’t have access to the Valens Research Premium Application.

To get access to our best content including the highly regarded Conviction Long List and Market Phase Cycle macro newsletter, please contact our Client Relations Team at 630-841-0683 or email client.relations@valens-research.com.

Please fill out the fields below so that our client relations team can contact you

Or contact our Client Relationship Team at 630-841-0683