Your Versus You're

Today I'm inspired by a couple of listener questions.

Mignon Fogarty
4-minute read
Episode #67

Marketing Speak and Grammar

Now, because I'm Grammar Girl, I feel as if I should get riled up about this twisted use of the English language, but I found that I couldn't muster up much angst. Sure, Seagate might further confuse a few people who already get these two words mixed up, but I think they are much more likely to just elicit a bunch of quizzical responses from people who know the difference.

Still, I felt guilty that I wasn't upset—that is, until one of my Twitter friends, Christiana Ellis, of Nina Kimberly the Merciless fame, called in with this comment: Getting upset about marketing speak is like getting upset about the finer points of pig Latin. Ha. That's it. It's just marketing speak, and we all know it shouldn't be held up as a model of good language. It's the equivalent of expecting sports stars to be good role models for kids. You can argue that they should try harder, but get real: it's not going to happen. Marketing people are trying to get attention, and one way to do that is to push language past genteel limits. It's like getting upset about misspelled graffiti.

Web Bonus: Fun with Marketing Speak

Here are a few more comments from some of my Twitter friends. The assignment was to complete the following sentence: Getting upset about marketing speak is like getting upset about  __________________.

Madpoet bad drivers. You just have to learn to deal with it/them.

CathleenRitt Bill Robertson's presidential run?

Susanreynolds weather. It'll be different tomorrow, so just let it pass on to the next new thing.

cherylcolan corporate greed. You're sick of it but you can't change it. Or can you?

ChefMark  4 year-old picking his nose. They'll do it no matter what.

Add your response in the comments section, or join the fun on Twitter.


Thinking about marketing speak got me thinking about neologisms, or words that are made up or assigned a new meaning. Marketing people do this a lot, but most of us make up words every once in a while or hear a new word that we like.

Some of my favorite neologisms are blogosphere, which means all the blogs in the world, and McMansions, which refer to the cookie-cutter, super-sized houses that you see a lot in new subdivisions. They're both so evocative.

I put a call out on Twitter to see what neologisms other people like and these are some of my favorites:

ChefMark Locavore

PlanetRetcon Automagically

TeeMonster Podosphere, podfading, and podiobooks.

mlanger Truthiness

You can add your own to the list in the comments section, or on Twitter.

That's all.

Don't forget about my audiobook, Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips to Clean Up Your Writing. If you're a teacher, a nice thing about having the audiobook is that you can use the lessons in class and not have to deal with the ads and announcements.

Thanks for listening.


Secret Vaspers Vocabulary

Linguistic Mystic's Neat Neology


About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.