THE 108 MOST PERSUASIVE WORDS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
It's long known the secret to persuasive writing isn't in the adjectives, it's in the verbs. Tweet this
Copywriters know power verbs sell and convince.
Internally, we have a list of 108 verbs that we’ve been using for a good decade, and we recently thought we should share it with proper credit to the original author.
We found that although the list is being recirculated (and in many cases claimed as original by several different authors!), the original author is in fact nowhere to be found.
If anyone knows who wrote this, we’d love to know!
With or without the original author, it’s still a great list…here it is!
The 108 Most Persuasive Words In The English Language
According to legendary advertising man, Leo Burnet, “Dull and exaggerated ad copy is due to the excess use of adjectives.” To prove it, he asked his staff to compare the number of adjectives in 62 ads that failed to the number of adjectives in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and other age-old classics.
Here’s what he discovered:
Of the 12,758 words in the 62 failed ads, 24.1% were adjectives. By direct comparison, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address contains only 35 adjectives out of 268 immortal words – only 13.1% adjective-to-total-word ratio. Winston Churchill’s famous “Blood, Seat and Tears” speech rates even lower and has a 12.1% adjective ratio (81 adjectives from 667 words).
Mr. Burnett found that similar ratios applied to great works such as The Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. Conclusion: Use more verbs, not adjectives. Verbs increase the pulling-power and believability of ad copy.
That’s why it makes sense to keep this 108-VERB “CHEAT-SHEET” close-by whenever you begin to draft your next space ad, sales letter, Website, or email campaign.