Monthly Archives: January 2013

“Hundreds of Years of Combined Experience!” (And Other Worry-Free Writing Peeves)

Just heard one of my least favorite marketing expressions on the radio.

An ad for an elder law practice touted the firm’s “hundreds of years of combined experience.” Not an egregious offense, but so overused, the meaning is lost.

Any listener who wasn’t born yesterday knows better. This description doesn’t mean the practice was founded by the partners’ forbearers in the Middle Ages, nor are any of the resident attorneys 500-year-old vampires (at least I hope not).

What it literally means is if you add up all the ages of the staff, you get a number in the hundreds. Which could be said for most businesses with more than four staff out of college.

What “hundreds of years…” wants to convey is, “We have years of experience in this field and working in our community.” Or deeper, “We understand your needs, as seniors and the people who love them.” And on a practical level, “We have the knowledge and expertise to assist you and your family with retirement, extended care, and estate planning needs.”

Wouldn’t it be better to just say that? Other examples of language infractions that have irked me of late… Continue reading