Thursday, September 13, 2012

How to improve writing (no. 40)

This paragraph, on a box of Twinings English Breakast Tea, has been on my mind:

For over 300 years, Twinings has been sourcing and blending the finest, high-quality teas from around the globe to ensure that your tea has the perfect balance of tea taste, flavour and aroma. Twinings blends to perfection the finest black teas to give you a line of great-tasting teas with enticing flavour, fresh taste and invigorating aroma.
I know: it’s adspeak. But still. The redundancy (finest and high-quality, flavour and taste) and repetition (tea, tea, tea) in this paragraph make me think that the writer needs to switch to decaf. I see too a problem of logic with aroma and taste. Isn’t it the aroma that entices and the flavor that invigorates? I cannot imagine being invigorated by sniffing at my morning cup. A more sedate and more effective version:
For over 300 years, Twinings has been sourcing and blending the finest teas from around the globe to bring you the perfect balance of enticing aroma and fresh, invigorating flavour.
As my daughter Rachel pointed out to me several years ago, flavor and taste do not have complete synonymy. But here, as on the package that prompted her observation, one or the other will do.

[This post is no. 40 in a series, “How to improve writing,” dedicated to improving stray bits of public prose.]

Related reading
All How to improve writing posts (via Pinboard)
All tea posts (via Pinboard)

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