When writing or editing text about construction products, an alarm bell will usually go off in my head when I see the use of the word ‘any’. This is a word I would recommend you avoid, or at least stop and ask carefully whether it really should be used.
As an editor trained in objective writing, I have spent a lot of time creating copy to promote construction manufacturers’ products on third-party directory websites. In this context, objective, non-promotional language has been the rule. However, it’s an approach that I believe should be adopted by marketing professionals working in-house.
Take this example that I quoted in a post about objective writing:
This seat is designed to complement any environment and can be supplied with armrests.
I don’t intend to criticise one specific company or product. The design of the seat above is pretty universal, and it would certainly fit in to most environments, but in general I would advise against this type of statement.
Can a single product genuinely be suitable for any application? When you think about it, this is a very bold claim. I see this sort of statement very frequently, so often, in fact, that its impact has been eroded and whenever it comes up I’ll instinctively consider editing it out.
A black paint finish often helps a product sit less obtrusively within a rural or historic context but satin or polished stainless steel is not always appropriate. In certain situations, timber is the best material for the job – the bespoke timber benches at Lewes Priory sprung immediately to my mind
Even as I write, I feel like I am getting ideas above my station. I would edit out the phrase ‘suitable for any environment’ and leave it up to the designer to decide based on the facts – material, finish options, colour options, and so on.