Our 50 worst words – plus why you should avoid them

Here’s a list of some of the worst words to avoid and why. We included words we can’t stand and we asked lots of people for their thoughts (with some unexpected choices).

While mostly inoffensive, these are bad words for all sorts of reasons. Some are super formal or corporate, whereas some aren’t inclusive, which is a big no-no around here. And some just sound rubbish!

Let’s horrify ourselves – although, some are polarising:

A-Z of our 50 worst words

Overused, vacant, pointless? ‘Amazing’ is used to describe things that aren’t that amazing. We’re pretty sure no packet of crisps can be literally amazing, although beef and horseradish crisps come close. (‘Literally’ almost made this list too.)

Like ‘amazing’. It’s sometimes enjoyable to say out loud, but sounds a bit silly and excessive in text.

Clunky to say or read because the vowel sound goes on forever. Also the letters don’t look nice next to each other. Though it does get bonus points for smashing the I before E except after C rule.

If it isn’t truly bespoke, don’t say it. We’ve noticed many bespoke things seem to be a bunch of products which may or may not work together.

This is about context too. It’s a lovely word, but only for describing waterfalls. Nancy explains:

“I dislike corporate speak that steals beautiful poetic words. One company I worked for in the 90s talked about ‘cascading information’. Oh, you’ve ruined it. It was a publishing company as well!”

– Nancy Poller, Creative Director and Brand Designer

A long, messy word that’s obscure, hideous to pronounce and looks awful. No thanks.

Not as bad as ‘centrifugalise’, but still no. Let’s just say ‘aware’.

An impersonal way to describe an intake of students. ‘This year’s students’ takes longer to say but feels more human.

This one is sometimes misused by businesses to describe something that isn’t eclectic at all. We think it sounds try-hard. But Lefteris loves ‘eclectic’. He might’ve persuaded us to include it in our upcoming 50 favourite words as well:

“Oh no, I love ‘eclectic’! First of all I like the word because there’s not really any synonyms for it. There might be one but it doesn’t sound as cool. I also love it because eclectic represents my favourite style of interior design. As a word, it’s easy to say and it’s of Greek origin so… 😝”

– Lefteris Anestis, Dr in Psychology

So many letters when you could just say ‘aim’ or ‘try’.

Things tend to be overstated as exciting. Try to convey the excitement rather than stating it.

We’ll let Cara explain this one (and we fully agree):

“‘In this ever-changing world…’ ‘The ever-changing landscape of…’ Change is a given in life, in the same way as breathing is a given. It’s patronising and throwaway, and just a great example of lazy writing. Totally wasted words.”

– Cara Jelfs, Content and Campaign Marketer

So close to ‘fishmonger’ yet so very different. Does ‘fashionmonger’ sound like a fashionable word? We don’t think so.

You could just say ‘foolish’ or ‘silly’, which are both simpler, sound more natural, and don’t have the same risk of misinterpretation.

So for starters, they’re old fashioned, and do they go through the washing machine often enough? Beth has another excellent reason:

“‘Flannel’ gives me the ick. I think because someone who was creepy said it was their favourite word.”

– Beth Hayes, Director of Marketing and Communications

Multiple, very different meanings. Are we forging relationships or metals? Or worse, are we forging forgeries? When used in business contexts especially, we think there’s an unfortunate juxtaposition of the meanings.

We don’t like the negative connotations of this word and how it can exclude people from different countries. Saying ‘international’ or ‘people from around the world’ feels much more inclusive and human.

It’s a word that doesn’t sound nice – ‘to foster relations’. It’s a word that businesses use quite insincerely in our opinion, whereas it feels authentic and caring in the context of ‘foster parents’.

A two-for-one for exactly the same reasons. When things are described as fun or funky, they often aren’t. Is a ‘fun’ task at a team-building day actually fun? Does a ‘funky’ vase have anything to do with funk?

Often overstated. But is the thing quite clever or is it Da-Vinci-level clever? We think ‘genius’ works better with sarcasm (which we don’t usually recommend writing down).

Not only is it a jumble of ‘gigantic’ and ‘enormous’, but both of those words look and sound better than ‘ginormous’. Sometimes words are nicer because they’re just nicer on the eyes and ears!

Is the thing you’re describing actually ‘iconic’? Probably not.

There’s an occasional place for this, but it shouldn’t be such a buzzword. Is the thing truly innovative? Could you just describe the innovation and explain the difference it’s going to make to people, rather than saying ‘bla bla is innovative’?

‘Timmo is a kickass content writer’. Cringe.

In the words of Lefteris who loves the word ‘eclectic’: 🤮

Sounds stupid. And it’s only two letters away from a very different word.

Let’s not exclude more than half the population. Humankind, humans, humanity, people, folks…

When we’re talking about the faces of an artisan-crafted gemstone, that’s great. Whereas multi-faceted strategies sound like corporate ridiculousness.

A nice word in the context of tone of voice, but it’s prone to greenwashing if a business says ‘natural’ instead of defining their sustainability credentials. Michelle explains:

“‘Natural’ is so ambiguous nowadays when it comes to food or makeup/skincare. Especially in the sustainability sector. Certain words are not regulated so it’s easy to be greenwashed.”

– Michelle Sabado, Sustainability Blogger

One of our most disliked words. Partly because it’s so overused. Also because it sounds insincere when businesses say they’re passionate about data or staplers. (Plus it reminds us of icky passionate Channel 5 movies.) While it might sound ok when used sparingly to refer to creative interests, we think it’s better to demonstrate your passion with examples or stories, rather than saying ‘I’m passionate about…’

“‘Passionate’ always exemplifies the opposite and makes me think of grey walls and ‘hang in there’ cat posters.”

– Alexandra Richards, Creative Projects Manager

We think it’s a horrid word to say and look at. And organisations usually expect people to know what it means. You could just say ‘theory or approach to teaching’? But Ben likes it so we’ll back off:

“Love ‘pedagogical’. Use it all the time. It’s really weird but it’s such a great way to get across that we’re not just talking a basic teaching strategy. Even better is ‘pedagogical content knowledge’.”

– Benjamin Davey, Teacher Trainer

Pension feels like a hodgepodge of ‘tension’, ‘prison’ and ‘penitentiary’. None of which we’re fans of.

Gross. ‘Gross’ is gross too. They both sound, look and are dreadful. ‘Dreadful’ is fun to say though.

Who says this out loud? It sounds like a posh dinosaur. One hath observed a plethora in the vastness of sky.

When relating to a group of people, a ‘policy’ can often sound impersonal and dehumanising.

“A lot of it is context. It’s hard because lots of words that people consider slurs or exclusionary, members of the community use to describe themselves. Then I thought about things like ‘policy’ as we are seeing more and more policies/guidance being pushed that discriminates and oppresses trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming folks.”

– Charly Calpin, LGBTQ+ Youth Worker

Horrid to say, horrid to look at, horrid noise. Either redeemed or reinforced depending on whether you like Jamie Oliver.

Ever noticed how ‘push’ takes as long to say as three-syllable words? Try ‘push’ and ‘meander’. It’s the ‘ushhh’

“I don’t like how ‘push’ sounds when I pronounce it. I think that ‘dish’ sounds a bit sharper and more defined. I like how Heath Ledger’s Joker pronounces it, but he could pull off anything.”

– Svetozar Rodić, Visual Designer

Looks and sounds silly. Impersonal. Distractingly similar to ‘coyote’.

An emphasis word that often sounds weak or unnecessary. Instead of saying something is ‘really good’, you might be better sticking with ‘good’, ‘great’ or ‘wonderful’ (which absolutely will be in our 50 favourite words).

“I like to avoid emphasis words like ‘truly’, ‘definitely’, ‘really’, etc. I only use them in rare cases.”

– Mauro Semedo, eCommerce UX Designer

Another cringe. An actual ‘rockstar’ is too cool to be described as a ‘rockstar’. When businesses or people say ‘so and so is a rockstar’ it’s usually wildly inaccurate – they’ve probably just made a good cup of tea or chosen a trendy outfit.

Vague and written to death. We recommend skipping the word ‘solutions’ altogether – jump straight into describing what the solutions are.

Fun to say out loud… but has a word ever had two meanings that are so far apart from each other? When someone in a business context says ‘I really think this person has spunk’, it’s a spit-your-coffee out moment.

A pretty word to look at, but old fashioned and no one says it. And if we did say it, we’d prefer to pronounce it in three syllables rather than two. Wait, we seem to like this one.

Sounds unpleasant. The letters look horrid next to each other. Makes us feel squeamish. Still reminds us of that Game of Thrones wedding.

Who’s going around tittering at things?! Most words for laughing are onomatopoeic or conjure up the style of laugh. Cackle’s great. Love a good guffaw. But what the hell is a titter?

A bit cute, a bit creepy. Used instead of ‘bellybutton’. While we think ‘bellybutton’ looks and sounds bad as well – who on Earth is saying ‘tummybutton’?

‘Unique’ things are usually far from unique. ‘Unique’ appears on almost every business website. What’s more unique is not to see the word ‘unique’. Also sounds like we’re saying ‘you neek’ – ‘neeks’ are nerdy geeks apparently. Nah.

Awful to say out loud, too many consonants, super old fashioned. Julie sums it up:

“I HATE ‘whilst’. My all time least favourite word. It’s so forced and wannabe posh. It doesn’t sound like a word a normal human would ever use. I had a boss who used it and it made me cringe.”

– Julie Thompson Dredge, PR Agency Founder

Ridiculing people who care about human rights? We’re not into that at all.

Almost always unnecessary. Instead of ‘how about yourself?’ we can say ‘how about you?’ Or instead of ‘you can do it yourself’, say ‘you can do it’.

Some other great suggestions – avatar, benevolent, cannibalise, refectory, rhythm, purport, tendril…

What about you – did we include your worst words? Let us know any you want to add or disagree with.

Proofreading checklist – 7 things a proofreader should check

Looking for a proofreader who’s both a natural at conversational content writing AND has a Countdown-level of attention to detail?

Here are just some of the things we look for when we’re in proofreader mode:

We’re all human, but typos give the impression of having a low attention to detail. Or worse, you get the wrong word altogether. Bottoms! 

We’ll ensure you don’t say ‘ensure’ too many times in your content, ensuring your readers don’t get sick of being ensured.

Would you eat a plate of food you dropped on the floor? Maybe at home?! Would you read content that looks a mess? Probably not.

Do you love reading stuff that takes ages to get to the point? We don’t either, but we’re great at condensing content without losing the meaning.

We’re passionate about writing, you’re passionate about your business, some people are passionate about insurance… It doesn’t always sound sincere, and it’s a bit ick. Try showing the passion by demonstrating how much you’re passionate about your business – tell the story.

Too much punctuation, is – often – distracting, and (totally) unnecessary. Having too little in a long long long sentence like this one is no good either. Just a natural amount.

From your tone of voice and layout to the range of sentence flows you’re using, consistency creates familiarity and trust.

These are just some of the things we have in our proofreading checklist. Plus any subject or brand-specific terms you’d like us to check.

We can usually proofread content on short notice too. Hooray!

“Tim is a wonderful copywriter to work with – my blog posts and newsletter are much more personal and engaging as a result. I am pleased with all the changes he made with my copy. He’s quick to respond to my emails and proofread my work, which I am grateful for!”

– Katrina Sophia, Illustrator and Designer

Relax or meditate? How to explain the difference

In short, meditation is all about training our attention to fixate on something – like a light beam. Allowing the body to relax at the same time. Then refocusing when our minds (inevitably) wonder.

Whereas relaxation doesn’t use the same focus – but the body and mind still cool down.

As a psychotherapist and content writer, I’ve taught patients to use both in various ways. It’s good to be aware of the differences, so we can target what we need to at the right time.

During a (randomised controlled) trial I helped run a few years ago, one of main things we found was just how important a kind attitude towards ourselves is, when meditating or relaxing. And that’s super important in everyday life as well.


We found this kind self-attitude naturally improves when people meditate. There’s a ton of really good evidence now suggesting regular meditation staves off a depressive relapse – if you’ve been prone to regular episodes of depression throughout your life.

It also seems to be really good at reducing some of the unintended consequences of taking on long-term stress in our lives.

Maybe you’re thinking ‘why would I ever deliberately intend for long-term stress’? But we all do this sometimes. Especially when it comes to careers, and the financial benefits that can come with them. (Being highly stressed works as a good motivator to begin with.)

Meditation ‘cautions’

Caution is a strong word, but it’s not always the right time to meditate. It takes mental effort. If we use it in the evenings it can sometimes dial up our internal thinking chains a bit too much and get in the way of a good sleep.

Equally, if we’re particularly wound up about something, and we’re in perfectionist mode at the time – trying to meditate ‘the right way’ can be a bit like throwing more fuel on the fire.


Any relaxation is great for maximum chill out, without the prolonged focus of meditation. These techniques have more of a tendency to deeply relax our major muscle groups. And the breathing techniques that usually come with them turn on our parasympathetic nervous systems – for recovery and sleep.

Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is quite an old-school one lots of therapists recommend for anxiety problems. It’s great too. You methodically tense muscles up, one at a time, then they relax almost by themselves. By deliberately tensing up and then letting it go, the blood flow to the area increases and our minds naturally go to watch all the sensations that follow – which is relaxing.

Non-sleep deep rest (NSDR) has always been my own favourite though. It quickly gets the body into its sleep territory, and just feels like it’s doing you the world of good. And it really is.

Any relaxation shouldn’t be overused as a distraction though, just like anything else.

In the world of research, long, complicated words and jargon are everywhere. They’ve got their place too. We need them when we’re separating out lots of different ideas which seem to overlap at first. The PMR and the NSDR abbreviations are good examples. They’re needed in research because they’re different things, but in other places, too much jargon can put readers off.

Get in touch

Do you need a hand with any of your clinical, therapeutic or academic content? Making this kind of content human is one of our favourite jobs.

How not to write like a robot

Let’s face it, cliches can be awful. Especially corporate ones.

Things like ‘let’s take this offline’, or ‘touch base’.


When people write or speak in a formal way, it’s often a power thing. So if we hear a super formal tone – whoever it’s from – matching it helps us stay on a level playing field with them. But we don’t necessarily enjoy the interaction.

Whereas when we speak more conversationally and relaxed, it’s a much more equal, human connection.

So rather than writing in a formal tone, keep it conversational and natural. Oh, and avoid technical jargon and acronyms if you can.

Website copywriting

We can all be a bit guilty at times of writing quick goodbyes. But they can give the impression that we’re too busy – or can’t be bothered – to say a genuine cheerio.

  • Regards
  • Best
  • Albert

(Hopefully) no-one speaks like this in real-life interactions 😬

We always encourage people to write something they’d actually say out loud, even if they’re in a hurry. A good quick check is to ask yourself:

  • Does it still sound as professional as it needs to?
  • Does it sound authentically like me?

Go with whatever works for you – just something a bit less robotic, a bit more you. For me it might be:

  • Speak to you later 🙂
  • Have a good afternoon, let’s catch up in a bit

Also, try using the odd emoji or two where it feels right or if other people are – even if you feel reluctant at first.

There’s some good research out right now suggesting people feel more connected using emojis in written messages. After all we communicate facially before we do verbally in the real world.

So that’s how not to write like a robot. Need help with some of your digital content, tone-of-voice guidance or any other copywriting? Send us a message and we’ll get back to you.

Adios 😉

Writing about diets and mental health

Here’s my psychological therapist’s bundle of info about food’s connection to mental health and dieting.

While I’m not a dietitian, and this blog doesn’t back any particular diet, the big clincher is that poor nutrition is associated with higher levels of anxiety, depression and sleeping-related problems, to name just a few. So it’s well worth treating nutrition as a priority for just about everyone.

Inflexible or rigid thinking tends to lead to extremes in any walk of life. This is just as true for eating behaviours that influence our mood. Let’s start with the most obvious example.


If weight loss is your goal, it’s more sustainable to go about it steadily. It takes longer but it’s associated with less extremes. You know the sort – ‘it’s fine to eat everything in sight right now if I eat as little as possible for the next few weeks’.

These on-off behaviours usually come about because we’re not feeling in control enough. But they ultimately make us crave more control – which is a well-stocked larder as far as anxiety is concerned!

One of the best therapists I’ve worked with taught me to tell people diets don’t usually work in the long run. Lifestyle adjustments – definitely – but not diets. At least, not as we usually use them for, which for most folks is to lose weight quickly.


This has become more popular in the recent years. Though unless people stick to it rigidly, it tends to lead to more overeating at some stage. In clinics, we almost always encourage people suffering with eating disorders to steer clear from fasting, and instead:

  • Eat little and often, driving out those hangry food moods
  • Eat more fibre and protein, smaller amounts of fats and even less sugar

Our biochemistry loves these rules. It’s a bit like renewable verses non-renewable energy. When we eat ‘renewables’ (like nutritionally-dense foods) rather than ‘non-renewables’ (like high fat/sugary foods) there’s way less ‘pollution’ (like anxiety or anger spikes).

Abandoning the fast seems to help with longer-term weight loss too. Whenever anybody inevitably overeats during a fasting regime, the body stores as much as it can as fat – trying to prepare for the next long cold winter, if you will.

Focus on timing

‘Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’ is what my supervisor taught us as students. It certainly helps no end when I’ve recommended it to clients, for weight loss or for better emotional regulation.

Here are a few more timing tips:

  • You’ll probably need more food after exercise.
  • A small protein-rich snack 2-3 hours before bed helps you sleep.
  • It takes about 3 days to change a behaviour, 3 weeks to change a habit and 3 months to change a lifestyle.

Eat a variety

You might have noticed more medical doctors have been writing recipe books over the last few years, with a big emphasis on eating varied foods for gut health. It’s really important for brain health too, almost like a lift/elevator taking the nutrients upwards.

Eat all the food groups

A lot of diets demonise certain foods groups. Fats are nigh-on eliminated or carbohydrates are cut down, so we lose huge amounts of weight in mere weeks. But our bodies need fats, especially foods like avocados, packed with a ton of nutrients. And our bodies need carbs.

We might not need a carb-heavy meal after work if we’ve been sat down all day though. And this example of bringing in a bit more flexibility gives us more control over our food intake – rather than rigid, strict, harsh rules.

Schedule in ‘bad’ things

This is a great one, and it’s really effective for people suffering from disordered eating. The theory here is that if people deny themselves what they want, they’ll probably end up overdoing it later. And it seems to play out this way for most. Keep it modest though!

I noticed how out of all the blogs I’ve written so far, this one had the most info to include. So using headings is super effective at breaking up chunks of text.

Another useful tactic was stripping sentences right back to the bare essentials. This is always one of my favourite editing tricks because sentences usually come out more readable.

Also, any idea was passed through a threefold checklist, keeping the content as evidence-based as possible. It passed the test if it was:

  • Backed up by another therapist
  • Supported by high-quality research
  • Effective for multiple clients I’ve worked with before

“You did an excellent job of editing our brochure and meeting our brand content style. We were pleased with the quality and speed at which writing was produced.”

– Beth Hayes, Sanja Quayle, Clinical Director

A physiotherapy writer’s experience of hypermobility

At Content for Humans we’ve been working with physio and fitness clients for a while now. It’s a favourite specialism of ours to write about, but it’s also become a daily practice for our physiotherapy writer and accredited psychological therapist Luke – who’ll shed a bit more light on it here.

I used to run a psychological therapy clinic for people suffering with long-term physical pain. There’s the obvious connection to spell out here – physical pain can be both stressful and depressing. But experts are now discovering this relationship isn’t as one-way as people used to think.

The way our body’s electrical wiring works when we’re anxious or depressed creates extremes – being super highly charged or really depleted. And physical pain can get stuck at certain points in our bodies when this happens.

A lot of people I saw in the pain clinic had symptoms of hypermobile joints, but barely any were diagnosed. The current and best quality research shows hypermobility is still pretty misunderstood, even by the specialists who diagnose it. Being diagnosed as hypermobile myself, my own physio from APPI has been crucial.

Almost everyone suffering with physical pain tends to overdo it a bit when they’re feeling alright again, then they inevitably crash when they can’t do anymore. It’s our own natural way to try and maximise our resources, but hypermobile joints can’t stand it.

I’m no physio, but a crucial bit of info here is the difference between two types of muscles – movers and stabilisers. The movers are all the big ones you can see – the stabilisers aren’t really visible and protect the joints.

When hypermobile people go for this boom-and-bust pattern of behaviour – our stabilisers keep shutting down until they’re almost in shut-off mode, then our big mover muscles take up the slack.

So people with hypermobile joints can know it’s not a case of fixing dodgy joints, like the way we’d fix a broken bone. It’s more about living with it effectively, by gradually sticking to bespoke exercises that work for each person.

  • Regularity is key – little and often, avoid boom and bust
  • Use recovery lots – cold water/compress, restorative yoga, deep-tissue/roller
  • Prioritise mat work – isometric and pilates-based strengthening
  • Only use low-load bearing cardio – freestyle swimming is the best!
  • Avoid going beyond a joint’s range of movement
  • Activate the stabilisers almost daily, before even thinking about the movers

Using an evidence-based way of managing the condition myself has been the biggest achievement. Any health practitioner these days has to work in an ‘evidenced-based’ way. It’s not as dull as it sounds. It just means treating people with the most effective interventions – supported by the best research available at the time.

This is a problem when there’s not enough research, so guidelines don’t really exist – like with hypermobility. That’s why finding a practitioner who could bridge this theory-practice gap completely changed my game.

Before working with a physio and pilates-instructor who really knew about hypermobility, I was in and out of physio services a few times a year. Now, I manage it largely by myself, with the occasional top-up from my instructor – which is what’s recommended, rather than lots of clinic time.

  • I can continuously swim again – just a few minutes wasn’t possible before
  • I hike again for hours – this was really painful before, and I’d get stranded
  • I can do push-ups again – before, just picking up iron pans was getting tricky

We’ve found that explaining jargon clearly is our biggest tip when writing about physiotherapy, exercise or anything clinical. It makes the language easy to follow, so anyone can read it – not just other specialists.

‘Jargon’ should be like a bright sign in our brains – flashing red whenever we notice ourselves writing a technical word. It’s probably gobbledegook to most people. Best save it for an academic article or presentation.

Also, talking about goals and how they’ve been reached is key. If people are buying something for their physical health, they want to be able to relate to it. This is where using people’s own success stories comes in handy.

Like most things, body work is a process and not an end point. Adapting it to fit my needs has been hugely rewarding – and writing about it has helped make it second nature.

Do you run a health or fitness brand and need new content, blogs or a tone of voice review? Or help with simplifying health jargon? We’d be happy to help.

“Your attention to detail is awesome! The website copy is sounding great (professional yet easy and friendly) and importantly consistent throughout now. The tone-of-voice guidelines are really clear too, and easy to follow. I can see already how useful this is going to be for all of us moving forwards.”

– Elisa Withers, Co-Founder, Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor

8 conversational content tips

We’re all human – and we make better connections with people by being ourselves.

Do you ever read your writing out loud? This helps us make sure what we’re writing reflects our voice – rather than just our thoughts. Writing conversationally this way makes it easier for people to relate to us.

Plus reading aloud helps us to avoid skim reading when we’re checking through our writing – from mistakes and typos to clunky language. These are the sorts of thing which can throw readers off the scent.

Tone of voice

We recommend writing contractions like ‘don’t’ instead of ‘do not’ – because that’s usually how we say things out loud. There’s an ingrained habit in many of us to be a bit more formal when it comes to writing. Especially in school – we’re told contractions don’t look academic or professional enough.

But when’s the last time you spoke without using contractions? They sound so much more natural – and they’re easier to read too.

‘Let’s leave’ sounds way more human than ‘let us leave’. Which also sounds like ‘lettuce leaf’ when you say it out loud!

Writing pronouns like ‘you’, ‘we’ and ‘our’ makes writing more personable and conversational. It’s especially important for us all to relate to each other right now – using pronouns helps us to feel connected.

Contractions are also handy when we’re using pronouns:

  • I will = I’ll
  • You would = you’d
  • We are = we’re
  • They have = they’ve

The Victorian grammar boffins among us might argue otherwise, and it has to be said – there’s a time and place not to do this. If we’re writing anything academic or official, it’s probably better to stay more formal.

But for less-formal writing, starting sentences with conjunctions helps to improve sentence flow. And avoids long rambles.

This helps your writing sound more natural. For most of us, when we’re feeling relaxed and friendly, we’ll think/talk in short, medium and longer bursts. All jumbled up together. Whereas if we’re feeling less relaxed, we’ll probably stick to a more formulaic sentence length.

So mixing the lengths up gives your writing a more chatty feel. One word of warning though – don’t go too long. Super long sentences put most people off and make digesting the words harder.

To create space in a sentence and avoid more formal punctuation, we love using dashes. That’s the ‘–’ rather than the smaller ‘-’ which is a hyphen!

  • Hyphens connect words together, like sustainably-sourced materials
  • Dashes can be used instead of colons or semi-colons – like this
  • Use dashes to break up slightly longer sentences
  • Hold the control and minus key on your keyboard to create a dash
Blog writing

If you’re explaining something complex, think about including quotes or a Q&A with people – maybe customers or staff.

Or in the kind words of our client James:

“Helping users to understand the complex is essential to UX and Tim’s grasp of simplifying the unwieldy and producing microcopy that works has been invaluable.”

– James Durrant, Senior Digital Experience Manager

Things like ‘regards’, ‘best wishes’, ‘the customer’.

These aren’t that friendly or individual, so they can put people off. Even in corporate settings, we’ve noticed how people love a human, conversational touch. ‘All the best’ and ‘thanks so much’ sound more relatable.


And whenever we can use natural language that we’d say out loud, that means we’re writing content for humans!

Want more conversational tips?

Or someone to write for you, or to check whether your writing sounds human and flows naturally?

UK food writer’s nutritious tale of the 4 Roman pasta classics

A food tale and writing tips from our content / food writer Luke.

When we were kids, my aunty stayed over for a night

My sister and I are watching Rick Stein’s seafood odyssey – both of us barely talking. My aunty rips into fits of giggles, turning to our Mum:

I’ve never seen two children so enamoured with a cooking programme in my whole life.

There lies the power of food charm. It’ll captivate the blankest of slates.

Stanley Tucci’s recent TV tour of Italy really hit a nerve

Along the way he explored 4 perfect yet particularly simple dishes – with the perfection lying in using next-to-no ingredients and a similar method each time. Coat the semi-cooked pasta in some kind of fat – then, keep adding a tablespoon of the pasta water, and stir until it’s done. Al dente preferably.

What are the Roman classics then?

  1. Cacio e Pepe – Pecorino Romano and black pepper
  2. Gricia – Pecorino Romano, black pepper and cured pork
  3. Carbonara – Pecorino Romano, black pepper, cured pork and egg yolks
  4. Amatriciana – Pecorino Romano, black pepper, cured pork, tomatoes and white wine

Spaghetti Amatriciana – plus a side of sprouts, broad beans and grated pecorino
Spaghetti Amatriciana – plus a side of greens (and cheese…)

Tasty, nutritious and responsible

  • Have a side dish of 2-3 well-seasoned greens – like frozen broad beans, sprouts, peas (all freeze super well) – with a dab of truffle olive oil and black pepper
  • Use wholegrain pasta
  • Keep to a small handful of cheese – it’s more authentic and makes emulsifying the sauce easier too
  • Portion size – the Italian lunch size, no more than 125g of pasta per person
  • Use ingredients that are free range, outdoor bred, RSPCA assured and locally sourced
  • To reduce meat consumption, Cacio e Pepe is our more regular go-to (alongside Napoli’s Spaghetti Puttanesca)

1. Make human connections

We think people want their food writers to strike a few notes. The content needs some semblance of the charm that TV chefs and authors have made famous. Reminiscence, food love stories – all those tasty chestnuts.

2. Give some food science

As food writers, we steer words towards food science made simple. For us busy folk, gone are the days of ‘giving things a go until they’re right’. People want clear methods that work without having to decipher anything complicated.

3. Write as you’d talk

Our clients have often written some content already, which we review to make sure it sounds human. We also make sure their tone of voice can be heard through their writing.

This is one of the more creative sides of what we do – matching a client’s voice to information that’s relatable and easy to understand. My teammate Tim is an expert here, in case you need any help with your own tone of voice guide.

So here’s to the beauty of these 4 Roman classics

A few simple rules, change 1 or 2 per recipe, and you’ve got a repertoire.