Monthly Archives: March 2012

McDonalds Should Thank Me for Spreading the Word

I should have written this when the advertisement was fresh off the press; but I didn’t.

I noticed it right away – the new McDonalds’ billboard advertisement next to my office.

Is the error intentional or a mistake?

The sign reads “I’m lovin’ it”.   The coffee, that is.  Yes, for all you grammarians, that’s right; the sign says, “I’m lovin’ it”.  [McDonalds Pakistan has come out with a variety of coffee choices.]

At first I let is slide, but after tasting the coffee I could hold back no longer.  I had to write.

The first time I saw the sign, and every time since the words glare at me, grate against all my sensibilities as to what is correct grammar.  As a creative writer the words rub into me, the wrong way.

Did McDonalds mean to make a grammar error?  Was it an intentional play with the English language, a type of advertisement ploy that would grip readers like me (and now all of you who are reading this article) so we would not forget that McDonalds now serves several varieties of coffee?  And if we remember the ad, maybe we would try it.  Was that their intent?

Or maybe McDonalds Pakistan needs help with the English language.  I think the ad should read, “I love it.”  For those that remember their English language classes, you would have learned that love is a verb of feeling, of emotion as are like, hate, dislike, etc.  It is not an action verb.  So we say, “We love tea.”  “We love our children.”  We don’t use the present continuous for verbs of emotions or feelings.  You love something or someone, you are not loving them.

So McDonalds Pakistan, what is really behind this ad?  Is it a play with words and you know the English language so well that you deliberately used incorrect grammar; or do you need help with the English language so you don’t make these kinds of grammar errors again?

I love coffee.  And I did remember the advertisement.  Maybe, just maybe, I thought, I could forgive them if the coffee was really good.  So I had to try one of the flavours.  I wish I hadn’t.  Whatever their intent with the ad, I was not impressed with the coloured dish-watered foam I was served.  Foam is not coffee.  McDonalds’ coffee is ‘not my cup of tea’.  Or should I say ‘my cup of coffee’?

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Using Description in Creative Writing

You have likely heard the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  But if you are a writer, or if there is no picture, how do you take those thousand words, (or hopefully much less) and create a picture with words?

Good writers and story tellers do just that.  By stimulating all of our senses, sight, sound, taste, touch and even the emotional, they create a scene so vividly that we too might be physically viewing the scene.

Edgar Allan Poe, in his description of the House of Usher, wrote “-but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit.  I say insufferable, for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment with which the mind usually received even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible.  I looked upon the scene before me – upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain, upon the bleak walls, upon the vacant eye-like windows, upon a few rank sedges, and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees – upon an utter depression of soul…”

Poe wants us to feel the gloom, the desolation and dread that pervade him when he views the house from afar.  Look at his use of the word few or words that are synonymous with few – mere, simple, bleak and vacant.  The reader is left with a picture of a building that is lifeless and has not been attended to in years.  This is exactly what Poe wants you to see.

In this small passage that I have quoted the reader’s senses of sight, smell and emotions have been stimulated.  He doesn’t make use of sound, perhaps because the very absence of sound stimulates our imagination that this is a house of gloom.

If you want to write, or need to write, I challenge you to write descriptively.  Touch as many of the reader’s senses as possible so the reader can see it as vividly as you can.  Don’t use a sense if doesn’t fit into the picture (as in the case of Poe who deliberately didn’t use sound word.  The English language boasts a rich vocabulary, so make good use of a thesaurus to learn and use words that give a more dramatic description.  For example, if you are describing water, instead of writing blue water, write turquoise-jeweled water.  Also make good use of metaphors and similes.  Poe wrote “the vacant eye-like windows”.  Figurative language is an excellent way of adding life and sight to your description.

I have included a picture in this article to prompt you to do a descriptive paragraph about the scene.  Imagine yourself at the bottom of the stairs and you must walk up the hill on this flight of stairs.  Describe your surroundings and what you are thinking about as you consider having to walk up the stairs.

Descriptive Writing Scenery

I would like to see your descriptive paragraphs.  Write your paragraph as a comment.  The more you write the better you will become and this is a good way to write but also to get a constructive critique of your work.

Enjoy writing.