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					          Language Characteristics of

              English Advertising


                     Xia Lei



             Professor Tan Weiguo



         The Foreign Languages College

         Shanghai Teachers University

    in partial fulfillment of the requirements

                 for a degree of

                 Master of Arts

in the Subject of English Language and Literature

                   July, 2003


  Throughout the process of writing my thesis, I obtained much

help and encouragement from my supervisor Professor Tan Weiguo.

I benefited a great deal from his meticulous scholarship, great

attainment, and patient guidance. I wish to take this opportunity to

express my sincere gratitude to him.

  Also, I heartily thank Professor Gu Daxi, Professor Cai Longquan,

Professor Deng Mingde, Professor Zhou Zhongjie, Professor Xiao

Chunlin, Professor Cheng Xinghua, Professor Su Chengzhi, and

Professor Guo Jianzhong for their help and support which

accompanied me when I studied as a postgraduate.

  Besides, I am grateful to my friends and colleagues for their kind

concern and great encouragement to me.

  Finally, I am indebted to my parents and my husband, who

rendered me much help and great support, which made it possible

for me to finish this thesis on time.

  With increasing communication in the world and acceleration of

international economic globalization, English advertising has found its

way into people‘s life. But how to understand, assess and create English

advertising is a challenge to most of us. This thesis makes an attempt to

explore the language characteristics of English advertisements so that we

may be able to appreciate and write English advertising texts better.

     The thesis attempts to approach the main language characteristics of

English advertising mainly from the angles of advertising and linguistics.

First, the thesis defines advertising, clarifies its objectives, mentions its

components, and discusses its classification and the significance of

studying advertising in English. Next, it investigates the main wording

characteristics, concentrating on simple verbs, adjectives and compounds.

Then it probes into the fundamental grammatical features, focusing upon

the tenses and frequently employed sentences and constructions of

English advertisements. The final part of the thesis body explores the

most frequently employed rhetorical devices in English advertising texts,

such as simile, metaphor, alliteration, antithesis, repetition, parallelism,

parody, etc.

      In conclusion, the thesis points out the influence of English

advertising on the English language, the existing trend and problems of

English advertising so as to provide readers with some enlightenment and


     Key words: language characteristics, English advertising, wording,

grammatical features, rhetorical devices















展趋势及存在的一些问题, 以便能为读者在理解英语广告的语






Chapter One Introduction

1.1 Definition of Advertising

1.2 Elements of Advertising

1. 3 Classification of Advertising

1. 4 Objectives of Advertising

1. 5    Research Achievements on English Advertising Language

1. 6 Significance of This Study of English Advertising Language

Chapter Two Wording Characteristics of

                English Advertising Texts

2.1    Frequent Use of Proper Names

2.2     Frequent Use of Monosyllabic Verbs

2.3     Frequent Use of Adjectives

2.4     Common Employment of Compounds

2.5    Common Employment of Personal Pronouns

2.6    Clever Use of Coinages

Chapter Three      Grammatical Features of

                     English Advertising Texts

3.1   Frequent Use of Simple Sentences

3.2   Frequent Use of Interrogative Sentences

3.3   Frequent Use of Imperative Sentences

3.4   Frequent Use of the Simple Present Tense

3.5   Frequent Use of Conditional Sentences

3.6   Frequent Use of Comparative Constructions

3.7   Common Employment of Elliptical Sentences

3.8   Common Employment of Disjunctive Elements

3.9   Listing language
Chapter Four Rhetorical Devices in English Advertisements

4.1   Simile

4.2   Metaphor

4.3   Personification

4.4   Pun

4.5   Antithesis

4.6   Alliteration

4.7   Repetition

4.8   Parallelism

4.9   Parody

Chapter Five Conclusion

5.1     Influence on English Language

5.2     Trend of English Advertising

5.3     Problems in English Advertising



                     Chapter One Introduction

  In modern society, with the help of mass media, advertising has

entered into every aspect of human life. Every day, people are

exposed to a large number of advertisements no matter whether they

like them or not. But what is advertising? What are the objectives of

advertising? What elements does an advertisement consist of? How

are advertisements classified? And what significance does a study of

advertising possess? These are the questions of which we must have

a good idea before we proceed to explore the language features or

characteristics of English advertising.

1.1   Definition of Advertising

  In English, the word ―advertise‖ has its origin in ―advertere‖ in

Latin, meaning ―to inform somebody of something‖, ―to bring into

notice‖ or ―to draw attention to something‖, etc.

  Abert Lasker, father of modern advertising, said that advertising

was ―salesmanship in print‖(加夹注). This definition was given a

long time before the advent of radio and television. In the past, the

nature and scope of advertising were considerably different from

those today. The definition indicates that the ultimate objective of

advertising is to sell. Obviously it is not an all-round definition, for it

can not cover all advertisements.

  Definitions of advertising are many and varied. An advertisement

may be defined as a public notice ‗designed to spread information

with a view to promoting the sales of marketable goods and services‘

(Harris and Heldon, 1962:40), or defined as a vital marketing tool as

well as a powerful communication force. It is the action of calling

something to people‘s attention especially by a paid announcement.

Advertising contains messages designed to make known what we

have to sell or what we have to buy (J.S. Chandan, 1990). Also,

advertising can be defined as a kind of paid, non-personal

communication through various mass media by business firms,

nonprofit organizations, and individuals who are in some way

identified in the message and who hope to inform or persuade

members of a particular audience (Bolen,1984:9). American

Marketing Association (AMA)(加夹注) defines advertising as the

nonpersonal communication of information usually paid for and

persuasive in nature about products, services, or ideas by identified

sponsors through the various media.

  Although advertising can be defined in many different ways, the

essential points concerning its definition may be summarized as

follows: Advertising is a kind of extensive communication of

information usually highly paid for and strongly persuasive by

nature. Advertising contains messages or pieces of information about

marketable products and services, or ideas, norms and values.

Advertising messages are designed particularly, ingeniously and

meticulously, which are made known through various media to the

general public or to particular groups of people, with a view to

promoting the sales of the goods and services concerned, or to

spreading ideas, norms and values. Contemporary advertising is so

commonly ubiquitous and so widely influential that it is considered

to be part of modern life.

  If the definitions of advertising are too vague and abstract to

comprehend, a few words about its functions will probably help to

clarify this crucial term. Broadly speaking, advertisements have at

least one of two functions: informing or persuading, though overlap

may often take place in one single piece. Informative advertisements

inform ― customers about goods, services, or ideas and then tell how

to get them by means of an identified sponsor‖ (Bolen, 1984:6). An

advertisement of this type supplies basic, factual information and

sometimes shows a photo or an illustration of the product/service to

give the target audience a better view about the advertised product.

Persuasive advertisements are the instruments used by advertisers

―who have defined their target audiences and determined the effect

they hope to achieve through persuasive advertisements in the

media‖ (Bolen, 1984: 9). A persuasive advertisement should try to

persuade the potential customers to buy the new product (Bolen,

1984 :6). The persuasive function is not only limited to attracting the

potential customers into buying a certain commodity, but also

including the selling of services, ideas, norms and values.

1.2 Elements of Advertising

  An advertisement is composed of different components, which are

either verbal or non-verbal. The verbal components consist of the

headline, sub-headline, the body copy, trademark (including brand

name, corporate or store name and visual symbol) and slogan. The

non-verbal elements are made up of illustrations, advertising music,

advertising sounds, color and layout. Each element plays a role in

successful advertising.

  However, an advertisement has no need to include all the normal

elements. Sometimes, some elements are sufficient. The following

elements are discussed, not because they are more important, but

because language features in such elements are more conspicuous

and much easier to be noticed by the general public. David Ogilvy, a

famous Australian advertiser, pointed out, ― On the average five

times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. The

headline is with eighty cents of an advertising dollar. Therefore, if

you haven‘t done some selling in the headline, you‘ve wasted 80

percent of your money‖ (赵静,1992:13). So, the headline should

attract readers‘ attention, make them read the body copy, show the

benefit of the product and arouse readers‘ desire to take buying

action. The purpose of the sub-headline is to make the transition

from headline to body copy. Some headlines need no sub-headlines.

The body copy tells the complete sales story. The purpose of the

body copy is to provide clarification of headline and proof of claim,

to point out other competitive advantages, in short, to give the

prospective reasons, implicit as well as explicit, for action desired. A

trademark is a sign used by an enterprise or an industry to

distinguish quality, specifications and nature of the product they

produce, process and sell. The name of a trademark often appears in

the headline. The slogan has some similarities with the headline. In

fact, many slogans are developed from some successful headlines.

Slogans are standard statements for sales people and company

employees. For example, Ford‘s slogan ―Quality is Job 1‖ explicitly

states that the company makes high-quality products. The main

purposes of slogans are to provide continuity for a campaign and to

express a key theme or idea with concise and memorable words.

Some slogans seem to be old friends of readers and become sparks

of recognition on consumers‘ minds, which create favorable

impressions of the products or enterprises on the readers‘ minds, so

they are regarded as immense treasures for enterprises. Slogans are

very common in English advertisements. Many famous brands

accompany slogans. Please observe the following slogans:

(1) Fresh up with seven-up.


(2) Quality never goes out of style.


(3) Cleans your breath while it cleans your teeth.


(4) Things go better with Coca-Cola.


(5) You‘ll feel good about it.

                           -Water pik Lipstic5

(6) In touch with the world.


   The above advertising slogans accompanied by the respective famous

brands either directly or indirectly tell us about the advantages or benefits

or peculiar functions of the advertised products. They are informative,

persuasive and likely to result in positive responses and to create good

images of both the products and the manufacturers.

1.3 Classification of Advertising

  Advertising can be classified into different types in view of target

audience, geographic area (international, national, regional, local),

covered media (newspaper, magazine, radio, television), function or

purpose (product or non-product, commercial or non-commercial,

primary demand or selective demand, direct action or indirect

action), but all in all, advertising can be divided into two types:

commercial and noncommercial advertising.

  Commercial advertising, which promotes goods, services or ideas

for a business with the expectation of making a profit, falls into three

types. The first type is commercial consumer advertising, advertising

directed towards a massive audience to promote sales of a product or

service. This is indeed the most frequent type, including almost all

the television commercials. The second type is known as prestige or

goodwill advertising, where firms advertise not a commodity or a

service, but rather a name or an image. This type of advertising aims

at creating long-term goodwill with the public rather than at an

immediate increase in sales (Torben V. & Kim S. 1985:1). The third

type is industrial or trade advertising, where a firm advertises its

products or services to other firms. Industrial or trade advertising is

most likely to be found in specialized trade journals or in the

business pages of newspapers.

  Noncommercial advertising is sponsored by charitable institutions,

civic groups, or religious or political organizations. The general

purpose of noncommercial advertising is to inform people and

persuade them to accept a particular idea, cause, or philosophy being

advertised. ‗As examples of noncommercial advertising one may

mention communication from government agencies to citizens like

the British metrication campaign, or appeals from various

associations and societies, whether their purposes are charity or

political propaganda‘(Torben, V.&Kim S. 1985:1).

  Advertising, in its narrow sense, only refers to commercial

advertising. When we talk about advertising, we generally mean

commercial advertising.

  According to the various media adopted, advertising can be

classified as follows: press advertising, including advertisements on

newspapers and magazines, radio advertising, television advertising,

direct mail advertising, including sales letters, postcards, catalogues,

leaflets and folders and others employing the newest communication

techniques such as advertisements conveyed through telex , fax and

computer(潘向光,1996:119-141). In this thesis, press advertising is

mainly described, while other kinds of advertising are given due

consideration in the discussion.

1.4 Objectives of Advertising

  The objectives of advertising are various. Association of National

Advertisement (ANA) interprets its objectives as awareness,

comprehension,      conviction    and    action     (ACCA).     Firstly,

advertisements should draw attention from the audience; secondly,

they should show and prove the advantages of the advertised

products or services; thirdly, they should arouse interest of potential

customers or clients and stimulate strong desires in them; finally,

they should encourage potential consumers to take action.

However, most of us agree that the principal objective of advertising

is to sell products. But unlike salesmen who sell goods in

face-to-face   or   even    voice-to-voice     situations,   advertisers

communicate certain messages to particular groups of people who

may or may not be known, and who may be close or at a distance.

Therefore, advertising is a specialized form of communication. In

order to satisfy the marketing function, it has to provide the relevant

information, to persuade people and to influence their choices and

buying decisions. Therefore, the message contained in any

advertisement must be absolutely clear or easy to comprehend, and

the means of conveying the message must be effective so that the

receiver may believe and understand the message properly and take

specific action to obtain the product or service.

  Specifically, an advertisement is designed to dispose people to

buy a product or service, to support a cause, or even to encourage

less consumption (such as social welfare advertisement). It may be

used to elect a candidate, to raise money for charity, or to publicize

union or management positions in a strike. Although it has various

purposes, advertising, on most occasions, is for the marketing of

goods and services. Regardless of its specific purposes, all

advertising has two common threads: a marketing foundation and

persuasive communication.

  With the development of world economy, a global economy, once

only the subject of theoretical speculation, has now become a reality.

Advertising has become a global form of communication.

  Foreign economic relations and trade in China, guided by the

policy of reform and opening to the outside world, have been

developing rapidly with great achievements. Since China joined the

World Trade Organization, more and more foreign products have

been coming into China, while more and more Chinese products

have been going to the global markets. Advertising is primarily

concerned with building brand awareness and preference---both

communication functions.

1.5    Research Achievements on English Advertising Language

  As far as I know, some books and papers concerning English

advertising have been published at home and abroad. Professor

Huang Guowen wrote and published an academic book entitled

Analyses of Advertising Texts (2000), which is the most influential in

China. English In Advertising by Geoffrey N. Leech, which appeared

in Britain in 1966, lays the foundation for exploration of the

language of English advertising. Advertising As Communication by

Gillian Dyer, which was first published in 1982, discusses the

history and development of advertising, the effects of advertising as

a major form of communication, etc. The Language of Television

Advertising by an American writer named Michael L.Geis explores

the linguistic features and non-verbal understanding of television

advertising. The Language of Advertising by Torben Vestergaard and

Kim SchrØder, which was first published in 1985, is mainly

concerned with the language features and communication functions

of advertising, etc. One of the most influential books dealing with

advertising in English is Words in Ads (Greg Myers, 1994). The

writer begins with the most basic units---sounds and letters, then

goes on to the words, and the associations the words have and ways

they are interpreted. He also analyses different types and structures

of sentences in advertising. The above-mentioned works discuss

language characteristics of English advertising from different angles,

each of them emphasizing some particular aspects or a type of

advertising in English.

1.6 Significance of This Study of English Advertising Language

  Nowadays, English has become an international language,

advertising in English is growing increasingly influential throughout

the world. English advertising greatly influences our thoughts,

feelings and outlooks and of course our lives. Since advertising in

English occupies such an important position in modern society, we

need to be aware of how it operates, how it sells goods and services,

how it perpetuates images and values, and moreover, how to create

English advertising texts. To achieve this awareness, what is most

important is to have a good grasp of the language characteristics of

English advertising.

  In modern society, English advertising has gradually formed its

own unique characteristics and has also formed an independent style

throughout history of development. The language of English

advertising is simple and direct, distinct from the characteristics of

other discourses. Therefore, an analysis of the linguistic features of

English advertising is worthwhile. In addition, with the development

of global economy, more and more foreign products are pouring into

Chinese markets and competing with the home-made products,

while Chinese products are increasingly flowing abroad. Under such

international economic circumstances, a study of the linguistic

features of English advertising is of great significance. If we have a

good command of the language characteristics of English advertising,

we will be able to appreciate, assess and write English advertising,

which will promote our cooperation and exchange with foreign

countries, facilitate and promote our imports and exports, and

benefit the development of our economy and world economy.

  The language of English advertising possesses many linguistic

features. This thesis briefly deals with the most common linguistic

characteristics    of    English      advertising,     particularly     press

advertisements     in   English.     They    include    three    categories:

characteristics of wording, syntactical features and rhetorical devices.

In other words, characteristics of wording, syntactical features and

rhetorical devices will be discussed respectively with typical

examples in a fairly brief manner.

  This thesis is made up of five chapters. Chapter one briefly explores

the definition, objectives, elements, classification and significance of a

study of English advertising as well as major research results on English

advertising language. Chapter two is concerned with major wording

characteristics of English advertising texts. Chapter three discusses

syntactical features of English advertisements. Chapter four deals with

major rhetorical devices in English advertisements. In the concluding part,

the thesis emphasizes again the importance of studying language features

of English advertising, and points out the influence of English advertising

on the English language, the trend of English advertising and existing

problems of English advertising, so as to provide some insights for

admen in their practices.
   Advertising, the embodiment of commerce, is an essential part of
our life, and its colorful language is very interesting and charming. I
tend to buy those products that are advertised in a way which gives
me a favorable impression. I often wonder at the magic of
advertising, especially English advertising. That was why I hit upon
the idea of writing a thesis on the language characteristics of English
advertising. When I told my supervisor Professor Tan Weiguo about
my intention, I got his approval and encouragement. Then I began to
collect reference. I consulted many Chinese and English references
which either deal with advertising or contain advertisements, and I
selected plenty of advertisements from books, newspapers,
magazines and even from the packing of products. When I thought I
had collected sufficient materials, I started to write my thesis.

                            Chapter Two

      Wording Characteristics of English Advertising Texts

  An advertiser‘s main purpose is to present and exhibit product or

service, and to spread their influence to the extent that the potential

purchasing population become real and actual. Generally, advertisers

try by the various means at their disposal to get people to buy the

product or service advertised. They attempt to construct an

advertisement that will fully involve the attention of the potential

purchaser and which will have a persuasive effect. So they will make

full use of every word to attract readers‘ attention. English

advertising texts display many unique diction features, such as

frequent use of monosyllabic verbs, personal pronouns, and

compounds, as well as clever use of coinages, etc. which will be

discussed briefly and separately in this chapter.

2.1 Proper Names Are Frequently Seen

  The extreme frequency of references to the advertised products

and to their component parts or elements or ingredients provides

good reasons for the constant presence of proper names. Products

may be referred to quite simply by the mention of brand names, such

as Motorola , Marlboro, Coca-Cola , Kose, Nokia.

  Besides product names, proper names of places, countries,

services and people are often seen in English advertising texts. This

is especially true of advertisements for tourists. Let us look at the

following advertisements:

(8)                   Just once in a lifetime

  The World’s Fair and New Orleans. It‘s a magical combination

that can only happen once. So come on down the river, join America

and other great nations in a celebration the likes of which the world

has never seen.

  Sense firsthand the wonders of Egypt. Walk from the French

Quarter into a part of China‘s mysterious past. Stroll through an

Italian village. Tip a stein at a German beer garden. Travel to Japan,

Mexico---22 different countries in all.

  See every kind of show---from a nonstop jazz and gospel tent to a

lavish Broadway-style aquacade. See every kind of entertainment

from Bob Hope to Oak Ridge Boys. Taste every kind of food in over

70 restaurants from around the world. See the Space Shuttle


  But first you have to get there. We have 25,000 hotel rooms

waiting. Just tell your travel agent or tour operator that you want to

go to Louisiana --- to the biggest celebration ever --- the ―Great

Celebration‖. For more information call (504)525-fair.

The World’s Fair I n New Orleans


  The italicized nouns or noun phrases are the names of places,

cities or services. Such proper names arouse interest and create

desire, which are very important to prospective tourists.

2.2 Monosyllabic Verbs Are Frequently Used

  Verbs used in English advertising are mostly short and simple.

Typical ones are: be, do, get, buy, make, give, have, see, come, go,

call, try, know, keep, look, need, love, use, show, help, prove, mean,

meet, suit, save, feel, like, take, choose, select, start, taste, build,

grow, offer, provide, enjoy, savor, etc.

  Any advertisements in English you come across may contain a

few or some of these verbs, no matter what products or services are

advertised. All these verbs are common and simple, and most of

them are monosyllabic. These common verbs make advertising in

English simple and easy to understand.

  A number of the above-mentioned verbs have varying

grammatical functions and meanings that vary accordingly. The

linking verb be is usually used to express the advertised product or

service. The word do, which has many different meanings, can refer

to the practical functions or applications of the advertised product or

service. Get, buy, have, give, take, and keep are related to the

possession of the advertised product or service; have and have got

convey the idea of neutral possession; keep transmits the idea of

continuing possession; buy, get and take express acquisition and give

denotes the conferring of possession on somebody else. Another

group of verbs concern consumption: take (in one of its uses) and

have (in one of its meanings). Meet and suit are associated with the

practical functions of the advertised product or service. Like, love

and need denote mental disposition towards the product.

Choose/select and taste indicate some links between product and

consumer. Look, feel and taste can be descriptive of the consumer‘s

sensation or feelings; with an inanimate subject, they can describe

the sensible properties of the commodity being advertised. The verbs

make, build and grow tell about producer and product, or about the

origin of the product. Offer, provide, present, and enjoy are favorite

items in estate and travel advertisements, where they are normally

preceded by impersonal subjects. At least one or two of these four

verbs often appear in an estate or travel advertisements.

  A number of the above-mentioned verbs are frequently used in the

imperative clauses which encourage the audience to buy the product.

In imperative clauses the word ‗buy‘ is rarely used. The tendency to

avoid ―buy‖ might be put down to the unpleasant connotations of

this verb. It is of course of vital importance to the adman that he

should not appear to be imposing himself on his audience, for if the

reader feels the advert to be too obtrusive, he/she is likely to react

negatively to its message, or simply forget about it altogether. The

adman is therefore confronted with a problem: on the one hand his

advert should make people buy the product; on the other hand he

must not say this in so many words lest they should take offence

(Vestergaard, T. and Schroder, K. 1985: 67). Leech (1966:154)

points out that in advertising language the most frequent word for

‗acquisition of product ‘ is ‗get‘ instead of ‗buy‘. The reason for this

is undoubtedly that ‗buy‘ has some unpleasant connotations (money

and the parting with it) which ‗get ‘ lacks. Advertisers usually make

very careful efforts not to use the word ‗buy‘. Instead they often use

such synonyms as: ‘try’, ‘ask for’, ‘get’, ‘take’, ‘send for’, ‘use’,

‘choose’, ‘look for’. Please examine the following ad of Microsoft.

 (9) Come and learn how to leverage Microsoft‘s family of

adaptable, scalable embedded platforms to enable you to quickly

develop your 32-bit connected Windows powered solutions. This is

the only event that will up-date you on all the latest developments in

today‘s supercharged connected device industry. We‘ll deliver

hard-core information for developers with both beginner and

advanced tracks.

  Get an early preview of the Microsoft roadmap and direction in

embedded and appliance technologies.

  Master the latest customizable embedded platforms for building

smarter   devices---from   simple   data-collection   tools   to   the


  Hear direct from the product team including the program

managers, developers and architects who are building these


  Learn all about the tools and business models that this new

market-place is demanding.

  Register now!9

  In the above-mentioned example, the action verbs show the

advertisement‘s endeavor to persuade readers that needs can be

fulfilled and problems can be solved through consumption.

  The following sentences are frequently seen or heard in

advertisements: ―Make X your toothpaste.‖ ―Give him / her an X.‖

―Discover the smoothness, etc. of X.‖ ―Introduce your family to

X.‖ ―Serve X.‖ ―Let X solve your problems.‖ In these imperative

sentences X stands for the product with a certain brand name. In

other cases, however, advertisers don‘t ask their customers to buy

the product or service, but try to make sure that their names will be

present in their mind in a buying situation. They usually employ

such imperative sentences as: ―Look for X at your dealer‘s.‖

―Remember there‘s only one X.‖ This latter group requests the

customers to contact the dealer/agent with greater or lesser urgency.

―Call /See your X agent.‖ ―Come to our showroom.‖ ―Come on /

hurry, book now.‖ These sentences are particularly frequent in

advertisements for services such as insurance, travel, and provision

of luxurious accommodation or for products in the more expensive

range, such as cars.

  In advertisements using more cautious, indirect ways of calling to

action, a variety of methods are employed. e.g.:

(10) You can use it at the table as well as in your cooking.


(11) You‘ll find 〔X〕 on all good cosmetic counters.

                                          (Cosmopolitan, July 1977)

  In the two examples mentioned above, indirect ways of persuasion

are resorted to. Obviously, different ways call for different verbs, but

which way and which verb to use depend on the context and the


  Frequent use of monosyllabic verbs can help kill two birds with

one stone: on the one hand, it makes the language of English

advertising more concise and lively, and on the other hand, it saves

space and time and money.

 2.3   Adjectives are frequently used

  G.N. Leech, well-known linguist in Britain, lists in his Language

in Advertising (1966: 152) the following most frequently used

adjectives: (1) new (2) crisp (3) good/better/best (4) fine (5) free (6)

big (7) fresh (8) great (9) delicious (10) real (11) full, sure (12)

easy ,bright (13) clean (14) extra, safe (15) special (16) rich.

  The first item on the list, new, which implies the latest fashion or

style or quality or type, or unique feature of a product or service, and

connotes progress and development, is a word applied everywhere,

because it can almost describe all aspects of products, such as size ,

shape , look, brilliance, color, formula, also it can collocate with

abstract nouns : contest, fashion, competition, ideas, trend, tide,

wave, etc. It is frequently seen that new collocates with common

nouns, such as booklet, bottle, car, fish steak, newspapers, shampoo,

soap, toothbrush, tyre, weed-killer, tool, TV, cosmetics, and many

more. e.g. :

(12) Introducing Renurit Freshell. The new wave in air fresheners.

  Renurit Freshell. It‘s a beautiful shell on the outside. And inside

it‘s a long-lasting air freshener…that freshens all day, all week, all

month. The new wave in air fresheners…new Renurit Freshell. In

your choice of 4 delightfully fresh scents.10

(13) Maybe you should ?????????(缺动词)for this:

  New Le Menu Light Style entrees.

  Healthy…and delicious.11

  However, new cannot be used too freely, and it must be used to

the point. Although it is a very positive word, yet new can not

convey an exact degree of the state of being new. For example, when

we encounter ―new packing‖, we cannot imagine how new the

packing is.

  ‗Good/better/best might appear to be another all-purpose epithet,

particularly in its comparative and superlative forms‘ (Leech,

1966:152). Admen often use good/better/best collocating with two

kinds of products: food and tobacco. Good also collocates with

many nouns which don‘t denote concrete products, such as flavor,

gravy, sandwich, breakfast. The use of good with cigarettes and

tobacco probably reflects the difficulty of finding more suitable

adjective. e.g.:

(14) What a good time for a good taste of a Kent?12

(15) In just a few drops , this man‘s skin is going to feel better.13

(16) This claims it‘s good for arthritis pain.

       This guarantees, it‘s better.

Two Medipren relieve minor arthritis pain better than two regular

aspirin. We guarantee it – or your money back. 14

(17)     What‘s on the best-seller list in IBM Personal Computer


  People prefer IBM Personal Computer software for a variety.

  Because, for just about anything you want the IBM Personal

Computer to help you do, there‘s software to help you do it.

Software to help improve productivity, efficiency and planning. To

help teachers teach and students learn.

  Or help you become an even more astute games player. Every

program in our software library makes the IBM Personal Computer a

truly useful tool for modern times. That‘s why a lot of buyers like

you have made them best sellers. And the library is still growing.

  So the best may well be yet to come.

                             ---- IBM Personal Computer software15

  Good and new are much more frequently used than any other

adjectives; wonderful, fine and great are adjectives of commendation

in most cases; delicious , crisp , fresh   and rich are key words in

food advertising; fresh and clean are often used in the

advertisements of toothpaste; of course, clean can collocate with

cleaning products, too , such as :detergent, shampoo and soap; sure

is only used in the products which have something to do with human

beings; safe and sure are inevitably used in connection with products

related to hygiene, such as deodorants and germicides. E.g.

(18) This baby‘s nappy is Lux-safe. Safe with the safety that you get

with pure soap.16

(19) You‘re sure of personal freshness---lasting day and night

freshness---and sure of a lovely, lingering perfume. This winter be

sure. Use double-sure Body Mist, the perfumed deodorant.17

  Extra and special have a function similar to that of new, but they

express the differences of products. There are other words frequently

used relative to new products, such as now, suddenly, announcing,

introducing, it’s here, improved, revolutionary, just arrived,

important development, miracle, surprising, challenge. Free,

obviously cannot collocate with nouns denoting products or brand

names. It is often used with an added attraction to consumers.

  Delicious, good and fresh are used as adjectives to recommend

food products. Sometimes, they are found with other adjectives, such

as chunky, crunchy , crisp, flaky, juicy, homemade and light.

  In English advertisements, good and wonderful are more

frequently used than nice and marvelous. The other adjectives

mentioned above are associated with products, and show their

qualities and properties.

2.4 Compounds

   In English advertisements, you can see compounds everywhere.

Some compounds are written as single words and some with a

hyphen, but others appear as two separate words. Because lexical

restraints on compounds are few, the advertisers are relatively free to

create English compounds which are appropriate to the copy text.

As a result, English compounds become a conspicuous characteristic

of English advertisements.

   As we know, compound nouns are coined in many different ways.

In the following examples, we can see structural types of the most

common compound nouns. (a) adjective + noun: high-fashion

knitwear, top-quality bulbs; (b) noun + noun: color freshness,

economy-size shredded wheat; (c) adverb + noun: the any-time

cereal, up-to-the-minute cycling; (d) present participle + noun:

arriving time, chewing gum; (e) past participle + noun: purified salt,

married couple.

  Compound adjectives are often used to describe products or

services. Leech (1966:135) pointed out: ― perhaps the most

conspicuous characteristic of       advertising language to a casual

reader or listener is an       abundance and variety of adjectival

compounds.‖ The frequently used compound adjectives types are as

follows: (1) Noun + adjective: world-famous wine, feather-light

flakes; (2) Adjective + adjective: light-blue ―T‖ shirt, dark-red skirts;

(3) present participle + adjective: shining-clean, piping-hot coffee; (4)

noun + adjective: brand-new, feather-light; (5) Adjective + present

participle: fresh-tasting milk, innocent-looking; (6) Adverb + present

participle: the best-selling toilet tissue, fast-foaming new S.P.; (7)

Noun + past participle: honey-coated sugar puffs, home-made; (8)

Adjective(adverb)       +    past   participle:   perfect-textured    cakes,

quick-frozen food.

  Compound verbs are rarely used, but since the 19 century, some

compound verbs are seen in English advertisements more and more

often,   such    as:    mass-produce,       window-dress,    air-condition,

blue-print, cold rinse, warm iron, line dry etc.

  Of particular interest are compounds which themselves contain a

compound        as     one    of    their    elements:    coffee-pot-fresh,

brand-new-clean, the so-many-ways cheese. In addition, there are a

few compounds which are created innovatively by the copy writers,

such     as   better-than     leather-miracle-covering,     look     at   the

oh-so-comfortable size, give that oh-so-good-to-be alive feeling. All

these compounds make advertisements more humorous, varied and

original, thus impressing people much.

  The utility of compound pre-modifiers in English advertisements

is very difficult to explain. Leech pointed out (1966:139) ,

― Compound pre-modifiers, like noun and adjective pre-modifiers,

can be used either attributively or designatively: they can add

emotively slanted description, or merely specify more exactly the

referential domain of the accompanying noun. Like noun

pre-modifiers, their semantic relation to the head is often not

explicitly signaled, as it would be in post-modification.‖ Usually, the

meaning of a compound pre-modifier becomes quite clear when it is

logically paraphrased by means of putting it as post-modifier. Here

are some examples: feather-light flakes = flakes which are as light as

a feather; chocolate-flavored cereal = cereal flavored with chocolate;

stiff-tufted mud remover = mud remover with stiff tufts;

economy-size shredded wheat = wheat shredded in economic size;

honey-coated sugar puffs = sugar puffs coated with honey.

  Obviously, compound pre-modifiers contribute to rendering the

text much more concise and to saving space and money for


2.5 Personal Pronouns

  The mode of address needs to be given more attention in studying

advertising. Advertisers aim to create a relationship between the

addressees and themselves and the relationship is more complicated

than it appears at first glance. Advertisers are, in fact, addressing an

implied readership based on      what advertisers believe we are like

or , more importantly, would like to be. This can be described

diagrammatically:     Real Writer ---- Implied writer ----Text ----

implied Reader----Real Reader          /    Copywriter ---- Narrator

----Text-Assumption made about us          ---- Real Person    (Ronald

Carter, 1997:199)

  The ‗real writer‘ is the copywriter, although in the advertisement

the   ‗narrator‘ will be masquerading as the text producer. The

advertisement    is   addressed   to    an   ‗implied   reader‘ whose

characteristics may be expressed in the advertisement. These

characteristics may or may not coincide with the characteristics of

the ‗real reader‘. Advertisers use pronominal forms to address,

through the narrator, the actual writer while directing their text at the

implied reader. In the similar field,   for the modes of address, Guy

Cook notes (1992:155) that advertisers favor the use of pronouns

and tend to use them in    particular ways. ―We‖ is the manufacturer,

―I‖ is often the advisor, the expert and the relater of experiences and

motives leading to purchase of the product, ―he/she‖ is very often

the person who did not use the product. ―You‖ can, however, refer

to many people simultaneously. for example, the advertisers can

direct their message at certain groups to the exclusion of others.

They can create an informal and friendly relationship which is more

detached in consumers‘ mind.

  The copywriter widely employs personal pronouns in English

advertisements. Just as Merril De Voe put it long ago (1956), ‗ Most

valuable are names of people and personal pronouns that enter upon

people. All first and second person pronouns are personal, but your

copy should be made up predominantly of the latter. Usually the

pronoun you, should occur with the greatest frequency‘. In most

cases, you and we and their possessive and objective forms are

utilized. Sometimes the third-person pronouns he, she, and they and

their possessive and objective forms are employed. Personal

pronouns carry important meanings in advertisements. As the

second-person pronoun, you is most frequently used in English

advertisements, it is natural that its other forms your, and yourself

should turn up in the context. Let‘s first look at some examples

involving you, your and yourself.

(20) The Elegant Continental Tea and Coffee Maker Is Yours

     Free When You Choose to Purchase Johan Strauss

  Stylishly designed, you will find the slim, classic lines of this

continental tea and coffee maker---known as a Cafetiere ---will set

the mood for a relaxing break at any time of the day. The easy-to-use

Cafetiere will give you the ideal opportunity for indulging yourself

with delicious tea and coffee while you soak up the music of

Strauss…The perfect match.          (ibid.)

(21) … All it takes to get a better picture is a better video tape. To

enjoy a good picture these days you need more than a good screen.

You need a video tape designed to bring out the best in all the video

equipment your own. You need a video tape that delivers crisp colors

and clear sounds. You need a video tape that looks every bit as vivid

on extended playing time as it does on standard. You need a video

tape so technologically advanced that it can keep your picture

perfect even after hundreds of replays. In short, you need Fuji video

tape. Because if you want to improve your picture, all you really

have to do is improve your video tape.18


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                            (OMICRON       MANAGEMENT     SOFTWARE

  In many advertisements you is repeatedly used. From the

examples quoted above, it is easy to see that through the use of you,
your, yours and yourself, the advertiser is communicating or talking

directly to you, which refers to any reader or audience. It sounds as

if he or she is putting across messages or giving desirable advice to

you in front of your face. In example (20), the advertiser describes

the appearance and ideal functions of Cafetiere, a continental tea and

coffee maker, as if face to face with you. In fact, the advertiser is

creating a charming image of his product, which is fascinating and

stimulating to you through the use of you, yours and yourself. In

example (21), the advertiser actually makes much effort to persuade

you to buy Fuji video tape. It is to be noted that in this example,

many reasons are given to suggest you possess Fuji video tape as

early as possible. From this example, we can see that the advertiser

makes full use of repetition: here you need is repeated six times and

video-tape six times too, impacting people‘s nerves strongly and

repeatedly. Naturally, the most impressive are the two phrases : you

need and video-tape. They form a sentence with a clear meaning:

you need a video-tape. Example (22) is an advertisement of the

accounting software --- Omicron‘s DOS. Here, the advertiser aims to

persuade you to buy this kind of accounting software, but from the

text the advertiser seems to consider consumers‘ interests, so that the

potential consumers might take real action.

  why does the copy writer or advertiser favor the use of you in the

process of composing ads? ‗Because you not only suggests a

one-to-one personal relationship, but also implies that the advertiser

can not know whom they are reaching…The use of you is powerful

because it is slippery, not because it picks up one person…‘ (Greg

Myers, 1944:79). To sell like a sales person, ads have to address up

personally, even when they address millions of us at once.

  Besides you, we is the second most common personal pronoun in

English advertisements. Since we often appears in ads, our, ours and

ourselves naturally emerge in the context. We has different

references in different contexts: we may refer to the advertiser, or the

secondary advertiser, or the sales person, or the producer, or the

agent, and it may or may not include the addressee. Since you

always turns up in ads, we naturally appears so often. But why is we

said to be the second most common personal pronoun? This is

because we is sometimes omitted or implied or need not be

mentioned and because you is more often required to express the

necessary information.

  It is to be noted that ‗we is always tricky, because it can be used in

both exclusive and inclusive senses, that is, either including or not

including the person who is spoken to. In ads, one use produces a

sense of solidarity with the customer, the other projects the image of

the company as personal‘(Greg Myers, 1994:81). Here are two


(23) Before you buy a new Skoda, shouldn’t you read the small


   See those little words beneath our badge?

   The ones that say Volkswagen Group?

   They are testimony to our partnership with VW.

   Together, we’ve spent the last three years challenging

   and questioning everything that Skoda does.

   The result of this process is the new Felica. Like all Skodas, it‘s

spacious, yet, at the same time, economical enough to meet the

needs of a buyer who wants to make a sensible choice.

   Moreover, it embraces Europe‘s highest quality control and

safety standards. Free from the constraints of the cold war and with

the help of our friends at VW, our work force have built a car that

ranks alongside the best in Europe.

   But, perhaps more importantly, the whole experience has

produced a company that ranks alongside the best in Europe.

         We‘ve changed the car. We‘ve changed the company.

  The question is, are you open enough to change your mind?

         We‘ve changed the car. Can you change your mind ?

           (THE   TIMES MAGAZINE, NOVERMBER 18, 1995)       (写文章要


(24) Lately you‘ve been hearing a lot of auto companies talking

about safety. And at Ford, we‘re proud to say that safety has been a

part of our heritage for years. After all, we were the first U.S. car

maker to offer safety class standard, and the first to offer a protection

package that included safety belts and padded instrument panel.

Because to us, safety is more than just the latest trend: it‘s a key

ingredient in the trust we‘ve built with our customers over the


   In the above-mentioned examples, we and its possessive form

our turn up several times. It goes without saying that we and our are

used in the exclusive sense, that is, the customers are excluded.

Through the use and repetition of we and our, the advertiser, who

seems to be talking face to face with you, the reader or the customer,

is telling you what effort the company has made and what successes

it has achieved, thus creating a wonderful personal image of the car

company. Of course, the advertiser usually employs we and you in

the same context, where the two sides of discourse become quite

clear, as can be seen from the examples quoted above. However, the

copy writer will prefer using ― You attitude ‖ to using ―Me attitude‖,

because ―You attitude ‖ rings more cordial to consumers, and it can

express readers‘ needs, desires, and hopes more effectively. Let‘s

observe the following examples.

 ―Me attitude‖:

(a) We are pleased to announce our new flight schedule from

Cincinnati to Philadelphia, which is any hour on the hour.

(b) We believe this vacuum cleaner to be technically superior to any

other on the market.

―You attitude‖:

(a) You can take a plane from Cincinnati to Philadelphia any hour on

the hour.

(b)Your house will be more beautiful because you‘ll be using the

most powerful, easy-to-use vacuum we have ever offered.

  From the above-mentioned examples, we can come to the

conclusion that ― You attitude ‖ can communicate an advertising idea

more convincingly and persuade potential consumers to accept the

advertiser‘s promotion.

  The first person I is sometimes used in ad texts. As we all know,

in some ads, such as book ads, particularly in commercials, products

or services are advertised through the mouths of famous people like

well-known actors and actresses, professors and scientists. Naturally,

in such cases, I is used to bring out the personal experience and

feelings or thoughts of the customer whose role is played by a

famous person who advertises the product or service. The qualities,

or properties, or advantages of the product or service made clear by a

secondary advertiser through the use of I are considered more

objective, more powerful, and so more believable and more reliable

from the psychological point of view. But I is also tricky and

slippery because it can refer to different people in different contexts:

I may refer to the sales-person or stand for an old or potential

customer, or speak as designer of a product. e.g.

       (25)              TOM SEAVER

                  Gardener, Baseball Hall-of –Fame

               Gardening is an important part of my life.

               I’m often out in my garden by seven.

              I love the smell in the air, the early morning light.

              My wife Nancy gave me a bronze plaque.

              It says : ― He who plants a garden plants happiness.‖

              That‘s the way I feel.

              I use Miracle-Gro, to make everything in my garden

              look its best.

              I learned that secret back when I was a rookie gardener.

                                               Tom Seaver21

(26)                     Achieve the impossible?

                          It’s always possible.

                         Let’s make things better.

              Edward Tonino, Product Designer, Remote Control

  Some people are always looking for the next mountain to climb.

The people at Philips are no exception. I’m Edward Tonino, Product

Designer, Remote Control. As a product designer, it‘s my job to

make remote control technology as simple and convenient as

possible. I’m also exploring the possibilities of harmonizing all

aspects of remote controls, wherever they‘re used in the home. And

who knows where the latest technology might take us: handset with

fewer buttons, or a cursor to run you home. Impossible? Well, that

has never stopped us before.


 (27) Recently I had to go to St. Louis for a meeting. Instead of

flying, as I having been doing for the past four years, I decided to

take an overnight Pullman. It happened to be raining when I left . No

matter. The train was exactly on time, and what‘s more, I didn‘t get

drenched before boarding.

  By the time I reached my roomette, my suitcase was there waiting

for me. I hung my suit in the locker and changed into a pair of slacks.

Then I settled back in that big, comfortable seat and managed to get

more work done---in an hour---in the privacy of my roomette than I

am able to accomplish in my own office in half a day.

  I couldn‘t have slept better.

  We arrived at the St. Louis station 30 seconds early. When I left

the train, I was fortified with a good breakfast, an unwrinkled suit,

shined shoes and a serene description. The cab ride to my

engagement was a matter of seconds. What all this adds up to is that

a journey I usually consider an ordeal turned out to be a pleasure

event. I am looking forward to many more trips by Pullman.23

    Example (27) is a testimony provided by an American authority.

The personal testimony of the first-person narrator may become

even more confidential. Such device creates an impression of letting

you into the most secrete wishes and experiences of the author.

  In some advertisements what ordinary customers or clients have

said is quoted as part of the advertisement to add force to it. e.g.

(28) WOMAN: One reason why I bought this Eagle Summit is that

I once tried to put all of my luggage in the back of a Toyota Tercel

and it just wouldn‘t fit.

OFF-CAMERA VOICE: Sounds like a bad experience.

WOMAN: Yeah, but it‘s all behind me now.

Advantage : Eagle24

  (29) ―Hi , my name‘s Messy Marvin.

  I got that name because no matter how hard I tried, my room and

my clothes were always messy. But then one day, Mom brought

home thick, rich, yummy Hershey‘s Syrup in the no mess squeeze

bottle. And before I knew it, I was making the best chocolate milk

I‘d ever had. But I wasn‘t making a mess. It‘s fun, too. I just pull the

cap and squeeze. Nothing drips, nothing spills.

  Now Mom‘s happy and so am I.

  My room and my clothes are still a mess, but at least there‘s


  In Example (28), part of the original ad is quoted above----the

advertiser has quoted what the woman has said. In fact, what she has

said is linked to the advantages the Eagle offers, with the use of the

first person pronoun I, the advertisement becomes much more

persuasive and convincing and much more reliable and attractive

than if presented by the advertiser himself. Example (29) is an

advertisement of Hershey‘s Syrup, which is targeting at the children

from six to eleven years old, so the advertiser chooses this boy as a

spokesperson. Once the boy, Messy Marvin, appears, he is loved and

trusted by consumers, because many families have such a boy who

always makes his room and his clothes messy, so what he says will

be reliable for potential consumers. It is reported that a lovely and

likable spokesperson can increase the number of positive cognitive

responses to the commercial.

  It is not difficult to find that ads set up relationships with readers

or customers by means of use of personal pronouns. Therefore,

appropriate application of personal pronouns plays an important role

in bringing about successful advertisements.

2.6 Clever Use of Coinages

   New words and phrases coined by means of imitation or by free

compounding are invariably encountered in English advertisements.

New original words are created to attract addressees‘ attention and to

meet their needs for curiosity and novelty. Such freshly made words

and phrases may suggest that the product or service being advertised

possesses peculiar qualities as well as the value of novelty. Many

words in advertisements, especially in trade names, are new words

newly coined, or deliberately misspelled and abbreviated. e.g.

   (30)   Give a Timex to all, and to all a good time.26

   (31)   Come to our fruice.27

   (32)   The Orangemostest Drink in the world.28

   (33)   Kwik-Kwik transport service.29

  The underlined words are coinages. In example (30), Timex= time

+ excellent. In English advertising the suffix ex is often added to the

root, showing the good quality of a product. In addition, ―good time‖

here has double meanings: one means happiness, the other means

showing time exactly. In example (31), fruice = fruit + juice. This

newly coined word arouses people‘s attention by its novelty in form.

When one reads or hears example (32),          he or she may think

Orangemostest is a wrong word, but actually it is deliberately

created by the advertiser, Orangemostest in this advertisement

consists of three parts: orange ,most and est. It is well known that

orange juice is a popular drink liked by the old and the young for its

nutrition and thirsty-quenching quality. Two superlatives most and

est are added to orange so as to stress the best quality of this product.

In example (33), the author makes clever use of a witty, strange and

eye-catching word ―Kwik-Kwik‖, which sounds like ―quick - quick‖,

and is very attractive to customers. The reduced letters seem to show

urgency and quick service to the customers. Coinages of this kind

are nowhere to be found in dictionaries, but they seem familiar to

readers in appearance. One can guess their meanings by means of

the context without help of dictionaries. When customers come

across newly coined words, their interest is stimulated, and they

want to go on reading and take action. Thus, the aim of advertising is

reached. But coinages must be well based on after-taste and

implication 令人费解?????, without which coinages can

produce little effect and will be meaningless.

  Misspelling some common words is also a clever use of coinages.

Now let‘s see the following example:

   (34)   We know eggsactly how to tell eggs.30

   (35)                            Drinka




   (36)            TWOGETHER

       The Ultimate All Inclusive One Brice Sunkissed Holiday.32

  In example (34), ―eggsactly‖ not only has the similar

pronunciation as   ―exactly‖, but it has connections with the last

word ―eggs‖ in this sentence, thus impressing people a great deal.

Example (35) is an ad of milk. The correct forms of these three

words are ― Drink, Pint, Milk ‖. The sentence in standard grammar

should be ― Drink a pint of Milk a day.‖. The pronunciation of

―of ‖ is similar to that of ―a‖, so the advertiser misspells it as

above-quoted, which not only attracts consumers‘ attention to the

advertisement, but also achieves beauty and rhythm of the language

of advertisement. Example (36) is an advertisement on providing a

couple with a holiday inn. ―Twogether ‖ and ―together‖ are similar

both in spelling and pronunciation. ―To‖ is misspelled as ― Two‖ on

purpose by the advertiser to indicate that the couple could get the

romantic yesterday once more if they spend their holiday together in

this inn. Psychologically, emotion between lovers tends to become

common and ordinary on the surface???????? after a long period,

which 此词指什么??? often reminds them of the past time.

This advertisement is just to cater for such need and psychology.

  It is easy to see from the above examples that newly created

words vividly express the desirable features, qualities, or functions

of the product or service being advertised.

                           Chapter Three

          Syntactical Features of English Advertisements

   As a particular branch of language, advertising language should

be concise and attractive. It usually has its own characteristics in

syntax, such as frequent use of simple and elliptical sentences,

frequent use of interrogative sentences, frequent use of conditional

sentences, frequent use of comparative sentences, etc. However, no

matter which syntactical features advertisers would adopt, they

should perform the following functions: to get attention; to show

people an advantage; to arouse interest and create desire; to ask for

action. In order to realize these functions, the advertisers should pay

much attention to the selection of sentence variety, sentence

structure, and other grammatical forms. This chapter concentrates on

the major grammatical characteristics of English advertisements.

3.1 Frequent Use of Simple Sentences

    Whatever product or service may be advertised, the advertiser

usually sets a limit to the length of the advertisement for the sake of

space and money. Normally, he or she makes much effort to convey

as much information as possible in a most concise and compact

manner. Therefore, simple sentences are frequently used in English

advertisements. Here are some examples.

(37)               IT COMES WITH A CONSCIENCE

  Honda has always made good cars. People love them. But with a

loved one, things can sometimes get emotional.

  Honda understands. And on our own we have set up a third –party

arbitration program with the Better Business Bureau to give you

extra voice, if you need it.

  But please talk to your dealer first. And follow the problem

-solving procedure described in your owner‘s manual.

  Our new program will help to resolve product-related questions

about your Honda. This program is free. Just ask at any Honda

dealer for a booklet.

  Or call 800-521-1613. You see, Honda wants you and your Honda

to have a long and happy relationship. It‘s only right.33

  (38)         STOUFFER’S PRESENTS 14 DAYS

                      TO GET YOUR LIFE

                    ON THE RIGHT COURSE.

  Don‘t just sit there. Get more active. Ride a bike. Take a walk.

Swim some Laps. That‘s the way to begin.

  And then, come home to Stouffer‘s Right Course entrees. These

satisfying low-fat, low-cholesterol meals have great tastes you‘ll

love. (All with less than 600 mgs of sodium and under 350 calories.)

  So feast on Sliced Turkey, Chicken in Barbecue Sauce, Spaghetti

with Meatballs and more.

  Discover Stouffer‘s Right Course and get on the Right Course for

                             STOUFFER‘S RIGHT COURSE

  Example (37) is an advertisement of Honda cars and Example (38)

is a food advertisement. They are mostly made up of simple

sentences, which render these two advertisements smooth and easy

to understand. Simple sentences can not only make English

advertising easy to read, hear and understand, but also leave a deep

impression on the readers‘ minds.

3.2 Frequent Use Of Interrogative Sentences

  In some English advertisements, interrogative sentences are used

at the very beginning of the body copy, so as to hold the addressees‘

attention and arouse their interest. Interrogative sentences often

require people to give answers, by which to arouse their attention.

Interrogative sentences break through consumers‘ psychological

screens at first, then require them to reflect. Let‘s observe the

following examples.

(39) What will you do with the money you save using a faster, more

efficient computer?35

(40) That Baume & Mercier is thinner than ever, isn‘t it?36

(41) What‘s so special about Lurpark Danish butter? Well, can you

remember what butter used to taste like - real fresh from house

butter? Do you remember how you used to enjoy it when you were

young? Today – the taste of Lurpark brings it all back to you--- that‘s

why it‘s so special.37

   ―One of the most effective ways of attracting attention to an

advertisement lies in the careful choice of the kind of headline that

should be used. A headline should not just be a catchy phrase or

slogan that seems all right, but a positive contribution to the style

and mood of the advertisement.‖(Frank Jefkins, ADVERTISING

MADE SIMPLE, 1985:261-262 这不符合夹注要求! ! !). So

interrogative sentences are often used in the headline, which is

called question headline, so as to produce this effect. In this way, the

copy writers put forward questions, which will arouse resonance and

thinking from consumers, and attract them to read the copy text. See

the following examples.

(42) How do you keep your head above water

        when the market takes a drive ?

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 (45)      MARTINI

   Who’d ever let a long –cool Martini Rosso pass by?

                Martini Rosso. The right one.

                       Martini, M&R

                are registered Trade Marks.41

       Example (42) is a bank advertisement and Example (43) is an

insurance one. The headline in each of the two examples is a

question, which is very attractive. Then an answer is provided. Thus,

they propagandize their services well. Example (44) is a renting

advertisement, where the headline is also a question. Then in the

body copy, sufficient reasons are given for moving to Bangkok.

Example (45) is an alcoholic advertisement, where the headline is a

question, too. The advertiser promotes his product in concise words,

which will make a strong impression on his readers.

  It is to be noted that in some cases, interrogative sentences appear

at the end of the body copy, which can produce a strong positive

effect. Let‘s see the following examples.

(46) ― Yes. You can afford it.‖ Now you can afford the matchless

luxury of rich, supple leather furniture. At the Leather Collection

you‘ll find the largest selection of traditional and contemporary

leather sofas, chairs, loveseats, soft-beds and modulars at discounts

of up to 50%. And because the Leather Collection is affiliated with

New York‘s largest furniture showroom, we can feature the widest

choice of decorator colors and a lifetime guarantee on everything we

sell. So why put off for tomorrow the pleasure you can afford


 (47)      We’re Not The Only Airline To Claim

                         Great Service.

                Just The Only One To Prove It.

  For 16 straight years, Delta has been ranked number one in

passenger satisfaction among major U.S. airlines according to the

U.S. Department of Transportation. So when we claim that the Delta

system will give constantly good service on each one of our 4200

daily flights, you can believe us. After all, who wants to argue with

the U.S. Government?

                                         Delta AIRLINES

                                    We Love To Fly And It Shows.43

  The question at the end of the body copy of each of the above two

examples is in fact a positive rhetorical question. We all know that a

rhetorical question need not be answered and that a positive

rhetorical question is equal to a strong declarative sentence. The two

rhetorical questions in the above two examples are very persuasive,

forceful, and impressive. They can be paraphrased as: There is

absolutely no reason to put off for tomorrow the pleasure you can

afford today. / After all, nobody wants to argue with the U.S.

Government. It is not difficult to see that the two paraphrased

sentences are not so persuasive as the two positive rhetorical

questions in the original.

  Interrogative sentences are very much favored in English

advertisements, because they demand people‘s response and can

arouse readers‘ interest quickly. Positive rhetorical questions are

even more attractive and more persuasive.

3.3 Frequent Use of Imperative Sentences

  As we all know, one of the functions of advertising is that of

persuasion, i.e. to persuade consumers to take immediate action.

Imperative sentences are very important in English advertisements,

because they perform the function of direct persuasion and

exhortation. Imperative sentences are most widely employed in

English advertisements. According to statistics, there is at least one

imperative sentence in every four in English advertising texts.

Therefore, frequent use of imperative sentences has become a

distinct phenomenon in English advertisements. e.g.

(48)   Get Super Snowcem.44

(49)   Get the shave that‘s extra close - the Remington shave.45

(50)   Get your copy free.46

(51)   Get more income from your income telephone lines.47

(52)   Get Volvo power behind you to take you far and away.48

(53)   Always buy Cadbury‘s.49

(54)   Buy your new suit direct from the UK‘s premier manufacturer

       and save literally hundreds of pounds .(The Times, 15th Dec.


(55)   Let your child in on a world of wonder: Things of Science.50

(56)   Let the New York Times find you.51

(57)   For the brightest gloss choose from Gaymel‘s wonderful

color range.52

(58)   Have some Harveys with your Christmas.53

(59)   Have a little fruit after dinner.54

(60)   Look for Top Shelf on your grocer‘s shelf in the new

microwave entrée section, and go places with it.55

 (61) Always ask for Gallaher‘s Blues.56

 (62) Try our smooth feeder system.57

(63)   Try new Rice Krispies.58

(64)   Enjoy the world‘s No.1 Scotch whisky.59

(65)   For lovelier hairstyles use New Amami Waveset and


(66)   Look…No meniscus reading problems!61

(67)   Just see how marks and smudges disappear when you use

       Handy Andy.62

(68)   Watch the Daxaids instant dispersal test.63

(69)   Get ready to encounter the new trend in timepieces.

                              The Citizen Espreme Collection.

                               Watches that are indicators of tastes

                               and moods, that express you.

-Citizen Watch64

  The above-mentioned imperative sentences chosen from various

advertisements are always seen in newspapers and magazines. If you

carefully look at them, you will find that such verbs as get, buy, let,

choose, have are directly associated with the acquisition of products;

that verbs like look for, ask for, try are indirectly associated with the

acquisition of products; that verbs like enjoy, use are obviously

associated with the consumption of products or with the use of

service; and that verbs such as look, see and watch act as appeals for

notice or attraction.

   ‗look, see, and watch are common in commercials of the

   demonstration type, where they call the consumer‘s attention

   to what is happening before the consumer‘s eyes.‘(Leech,


  Other verbs such as remember, make sure are favored by the

admen, too. In imperative sentences such verbs perform the function

of advising consumers to note some important points in the process

of choosing or using the product or service.

  It is to be noted that there are few negative imperative sentences

in English advertising. Negative imperative sentences are employed

only for the purposes of expressing admonishment or warning.

3.4 Frequent Use of the Simple Present Tense

  In English advertisements, the copy writer tends to use the simple

present tense, although he or she employs other tenses as well when

necessary. Obviously, the simple present tense is ubiquitous in

English advertisements. Please look at the following examples.

(70)    Indulge your senses with the freshness of Fa

  Gently clean and moisturize your skin with the freshness of Fa

Shower Gel. Its rich emollients and ideal PH balance leave your skin

soft and smooth to the touch.

  Fa, Europe‘s most popular brand of bath and shower products, is

now available as a complete line with a choice of three enchanting


Freshness you can feel.65

(71)               POND’S DISCOVERS HOW TO

                              FIGHT DRYNESS

                       EVERY TIME YOU WASH YOUR


  Instead of soap, try a whole new way to wash your face. Pond‘s

Facial Cleaning Foam. It‘s a light, refreshing foam that cleans

thoroughly, cleans gently, but doesn‘t dry your skin like soap.

  New Pond‘s leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth every time

you wash your face. Try it and see. No one knows more about

beautiful skin than Pond‘s.

                            POND‘S CLEANS LIKE NO SOAP CAN.

-Also available for sensitive skin66

  Example (70) is an advertisement of Fa Shower Gel. It shows that

Fa Shower Gel enables your skin to be soft and smooth with

enchanting fragrances. Example (71) is an advertisement of Pond‘s

Facial Cleaning Foam. The use of the simple present tense in these

two examples shows the eternal particular characteristics and special

functions of the two commodities, Fa Shower Gel and Pond‘s Facial

Cleaning Foam, enabling customers to think of them as things

beyond any shadow of doubt.

  As a matter of fact, the simple present tense is always employed

in advertising texts. Why is the simple present tense always

preferred in English advertisements? This is because ― A much more

frequent meaning of the simple present tense in anchoring

advertising texts is the ‗eternal truth‘ variety ‖ (Greg Myers,

1994:39). As the simple present tense is used to express a habitual,

permanent, or repeated action, or a perpetual condition or state, its

frequent use in advertising texts adds eternity and durability to the

products being advertised. By using the simple present tense, the

advertiser intends to tell the audience or readers the hard facts and

the permanent truth concerning the advertised product or service.

And customers usually believe messages conveyed by advertising

texts characterized by the use of the simple present tense.

3.5 Frequent Use of Conditional Sentences

  In English advertisements, conditional sentences introduced by if

often occur in the first line, so as to strengthen promotion and

persuasion. The conditional sentences can be divided into two types:

real conditional sentences and unreal conditional sentences. In

advertising texts, real conditional sentences are generally preferred.

Let‘s observe the following examples.

(72)   If you suffer from indigestion, this is something you want to


(73)   If you‘re a wife who believes that the best Home-made Bread

is made with good honest plain flour – then this flour, made by

McDougall‘s, is the flour for you…68


  Soft golden sands, shady blue lagoons, heart-stopping scarlet

sunsets, wherever you look, Jamaica is stepped in romance.

  If you‘ve ever dreamt of strolling hand in hand across glorious,

unspoilt beaches as the warm Caribbean licks gently around your

ankles and the smell of tropical blooms fills the air, then this is the

place for you…(THE TIMES MAGIZINE, NOVEMBER 18 1995,


(75)      Handmade Sterling Silver

   If you‘re happy with ordinary flatware, fine.

   If you want something really outstanding, have a look at our

handmade sterling silver.

   We invite your visit and comparison.

James Robinson

15 east 57th street, NEW YORK 10022-255669



   They‘d dreamt of softness. Of luxurious comfort. Of delicious

colors and supple leathers. They‘d dreamt about Soft Spots. Casual

shoes. Sporty shoes. Really comfortable shoes. So make these

dreams come true. Just call 1-800-468-4684 for the Soft Spots

retailer near you.

                                                   SOFT SPOTS

                                       Really comfortable shoes70



                                                         - SLIX71

  From the above quoted examples, we can come to the conclusion

that conditional sentences introduced by if single out the particular

type of customers or clients. The if-sentence in example (72) singles

out the particular type of people who suffer from indigestion, while

the main clause suggests that they use the product. In example (73),

the if-sentence singles out the particular type of wives who believe

that the best Home-made Bread is made with good honest plain flour,

then the main clause suggests that they buy the product. In example

(74), the if-sentence singles out the particular type of lovers who

have dreamt of strolling hand in hand across glorious, unspoilt

beaches, while the main clause invites them to visit it. In example

(75), the if-sentence singles out the particular type of people who are

happy with ordinary flatware and want something really outstanding,

while the main clause invites them to see it. Examples (76) and (77)

are advertisements of the shoe and the swimsuit, where the

if-sentences are used in the headlines. Thus, the advertisements can

capture the readers‘ attention.

  Another type of conditional sentences assume this form:

imperative sentence + and + sentence of result or effect. Let‘s see the

following example:

(78) …Push this blue button, and you flush out goods and loose

mineral deposits that clog up steam vents, choke off steam. Push this

button, and you‘ve made life a lot easier….72

  Obviously, the above quoted example actually consists of two

conditional sentences, which assume the form of imperative

sentences. As a matter of fact, such conditional sentences play the

double function of introducing indirectly the desirable or favorable

aspects or characteristics of the advertised product or service, and of

calling prospective customers to take action in an indirect way.

3.6 Frequent Use of Comparative Constructions

  In our competitive society, how to get big sales is really an art. A

comparison of products in an advertisement can show the

advantages of the advertised product over others of the same kind.

So, the copy writer is inclined to use the comparative construction in

English advertisements.‗Comparative constructions abound in

advertising, and for good reason. They are used to say that some

product is better than used to be, or that it is better than competing

products, or that consumers will be better off if they use some

product than if they don‘t. Comparatives are also used in advertising

to say that consumers can get more of something for their money

than they used to be able to, or to get more of something than before

for less money than they used to have to pay. The fact that

comparatives are used so frequently in advertising makes the study

of the language of advertising very interesting, but it is how they are

used and abused in advertising that makes them most interesting‘

(Michael L. Geis, 1982:85 ).

  Usually, in the simplest sort of case, a comparative sentence

contains two individual objects or two types of objects along some

dimension. Let‘s see the following examples.

(79)   Oranges are sweeter than lemons. Our oranges are sweeter

than they used to be.

                    (SUNDAY MIRROR, May 1996.p.6,London)?????

(80)                    GILLETTE Sensor

…Even rinsing is innovative. The new blades are 50% narrower than

any others – allowing water to flow freely around and through them,

for effortless cleaning and rinsing….


(81)           You manage a business, stocks , bonds , people

                    And now you can manage your hair

  For the first time, there‘s a remarkable gel that can give your hair

any look you want – sleeker, fuller, straighter, curlier, more natural,

even wet- without a drop of alcohol or oil. It gets your hair into

shape in the morning and keeps it under control all day. Whatever

your management style, Maltplexx is for you. Get the full facts at the

Aramis counter.


MALTPLEXX natural hair gel for men.74

   In Example (79), oranges and lemons are compared along the

dimension of sweetness in the first sentence; in the second sentence,

two kinds of oranges---the oranges the speaker used to have and the

oranges he or she now has---are compared also along the dimension

of sweetness. In Example (80), different types of blades, the new

blades and any other blades are compared along the dimension of

properties. In Example (81), the advertiser directly claims that the

product possesses more effective quality. He doesn‘t point out the

compared object, so he can say boldly that his product is more


  As it is well known, many of the comparatives employed in

advertising are complete sentences in that the compared object

appears, but many are elliptical in that the objective terms of

comparatives are not identified. In elliptical comparative sentences

sometimes ambiguity is bound to arise. Let‘s observe the following


(82)    All new Mitsubishi Galant has more power and economy, less

weight and noise.75

  The above-mentioned example is taken from a car advertisement.

The comparative in it involves ambiguity, for it can be understood in

different ways: a) All new Mitsubishi Galant has more power and

economy, less weight and noise than old Mitsubishi Galant. b) All

new Mitsubishi Galant has more power and economy, less weight

and noise than the same competing type of cars. c) All new

Mitsubishi Galant has more power and economy, less weight and

noise than old Mitsubishi Galant and the same competing type of


  It is easy to see that the copy writer creates countless comparative

constructions, many of which contain implied or ambiguous

comparison. But no matter how deep the implied comparison is, no

matter how ambiguous the comparison may be, the message of

comparison is always positive, invariably in favor of the advertised

product or service. Moreover, as implied and ambiguous

comparisons usually bring about profound thinking, and are capable

of being understood in different ways which are favorable to the

advertised product or service, so they are conducive to creating a

wonderful image of what is being advertised.

3.7 Disjunctive Elements

  It is often observed that the advertising copy writer has a tendency

to chop up sentences into shorter bits by using full stops, dash,

semi-colon and hyphen, where ordinary prose would use commas or

no punctuation at all. Leech (1966:90-7, 113-16,148-50, 170-4)

refers to this phenomenon as ‗disjunctive syntax‘. Disjunctive

elements which are widely used in English advertisements, have

become a special phenomenon in advertising language in English.


(83)   …an automatic applicator gently smooth on soft crème or

       high-shine color for a smooth silky finish that lasts. And


(84)   …colors that look lastingly tempting. Longer.77

(85)   …Finally. The convenience of Silver Stone combined with

glass! It‘s a cook‘s dream true…78

(86)   ….Italy‘s masterpiece. A delightful liqueur created from wild

harenuts?????, herbs and berries.



(87)                    The California Wine Festival

         December 5-8,1982.

         On the beautiful Monterey Peninsula.

         The oldest, most established wine event in the country.

         A sellout success over the years.

         For years of Wine testing. California‘s Finest Wineries.

       Taste Hundreds of Select Wines. Extravagant Gourmet Meals.

  Famous speakers from the world of Wine and Food. Complete

  Program, $250 per person. Special Festival rates at fine Monterey

  Peninsula Hotels.80

  Examples (83), (84), (85), and (86) contain disjunctive elements:

‗And lasts.‘; ‗Longer.‘; ‗Finally.‘; ‗Italy‘s masterpiece.‘ and

‗Frangclico.‘. Each of these is separated from the preceding sentence

by a full stop. In fact, each is an element or a constituent of the

preceding sentence. The effect of this is to cut up the sentence into

more information units. As each information unit is articulated in a

stressed falling tone and, therefore, emphasizes the message

contained, more information units means more emphasized

messages. It is easy to see that by frequently using disjunctive syntax

advertisers want to emphasize those key or important messages, to

render them more attractive to the addressees and to achieve the

purpose of promoting consumption. Example (87) advertises

California Wine Festival. It introduces the unusual festival, telling

and making attractive the time, place, activities, etc. of the festival

through proper use and vertical arrangement of elliptical sentences

and disjunctive elements.

  As can be seen from the examples, disjunctive elements or

sentence fragments end in full stops and look as if they were

complete sentences. In fact, they are just parts of the sentences

concerned. The separate parts are often the key ones that are

emphasized in advertising texts. They are very attractive. They are to

be read in a stressed falling tone. They usually project or highlight

the special features, or characteristics, or fantastic functions of the

advertised product or service.

3.8 Listing language

  Advertising is a style of immediate impact and rapid persuasion.

In general, whether the medium is print, radio, television or Internet,

the advertiser can rely on people‘s attention for only a very short

time. Therefore, the sales message must be short, clear, distinctive

and memorable. In many English advertisements, the benefits,

amenities, or advantages of the advertised products or services are

listed in the form of a catalogue, or of an index, or in the form of a

table. Let‘s observe the printed advertisement below.

(88)   What’s the best way to care for your skin?

            A. Take steps to help prevent skin cancer.

            B. Protect from pollution.

            C. Moisture.

            D. Promote healing.

                 CABOT’S VITAMIN E.

                 All Of The Above

  In today‘s world, your skin demands extra special care. The kind

you‘ll find with Cabot‘s Vitamin E. From extra rich moisture creams

to smoothing masques and skin oil. Cabot‘s Vitamin E products give

you all the skin care you need.81

  In the above-quoted body copy of a cosmetics advertisement, the

steps for how to care for your skin are listed in the form of a

catalogue or index. The language style is indeed terse and concise,

yet plenty of information is put across, and the message is clear at a


(89)           An Equal Opportunity Employer

               How would you solve this problem?

               A. Deductive reasoning.

               B. Perseverance and dedication.

               C. A sword.


                               We like people with fresh ideas.82

   In the above-mentioned body copy of an employment

advertisement, the requirements for the vocation are listed in the

form of a catalogue. And they are made clear by short phrases.

   Listing language, by which I mean language in the form of lists

or tables or indexes, is most commonly witnessed in modern English

advertising. This type of language is often used to list the features or

advantages, or benefits of the advertised product or service and to

render them crystal clear at a glance. Geoffrey N. Leech (1996: 这

里 加 页 码 ! ! ! ) said ―The most straightforward kind of
         ! !

advertisement is one which describes what special need the product

fulfils, or what special advantage it offers.‖ In fact this kind of ads

are ubiquitous: many brief advertisements are entirely presented in

catalogue or index language while many long body copies consist of

both paragraphs with complete standard sentences and sections of

short phrases or very short sentences in the form of a catalogue or

table. Undoubtedly, such listing language contributes greatly to their

straightforward and easy comprehension. That is why such listing

language is usually used in English advertisements.

3.9 Frequent Use of Elliptical Sentences

  Advertising language must be persuasive and economical. This

requires advertisers to use concise and brief language. In other

words, the advertiser should make great effort to convey the greatest

quantity of information in a most concise manner, which calls for

simple syntax and terse diction. In order to render advertising texts

brief, concise, and forceful, the copy writer normally makes good

use of elliptical sentences. e.g.

(90) Into this glass, washing powder. Into this one, soap flakes.

       Now, into this---new label improved Rubbly Stergene.
                               (Rubbly Stergene-Detergent)

(91) Love in your heart – peace in your mind – lifeguard in your

home – the disinfectant you trust completely.84

(92)    A mild way.

         Make it a Mild Smoke

         Smooth, rich, rewarding.

                             (Mild Seven –Cigarette)85
(93)    Italy, perhaps the most beautiful country in Europe. The

towering ALPs. The Floretine hills. And the ancient ruins of Pompeii.

The great cities… In fact, when you fly Alitalia, the Italian

experience starts the moment you take off…

                           ---Alitalia Airlines86
(94)    Champion Golf shoes styled by Damon Hunter 3 Times Open

Champion.                   ---Champion Golf Shoes87

(95) More than a timepiece. An acquisition.

                           -PIAGIT WATCH88

(96) Canadian Airlines .

          A convenient way to Canada .

          And a fast way to the USA .

                                              (Canadian Airlines )89

(97) Safe. Easy . Quick and with Fun .

                  ( KITCHEN WONDER Vegetable Processor )90

  In example (90), prepositional phrases replace complete sentences;

example (91) is formulated by sentences without subjects and

predicates; example (92) is made up of three elliptical sentences, the

first is merely a nominal group, the second has no subject, the third

consists of three adjectives; example (93) is made up of five

elliptical sentences and one complete sentence, the first is without

predicate, the second, third, fourth, and fifth are nominal groups,

the last one is a complete sentence; in example (94), participle

phrases replace complete sentence; example (95) is without subjects

and predicates, this sentence tends to be colloquial.; example (96) is

made up of three nominal groups; example (97) is a verbless

expression made up of three adjectives and an adverbial group. (分



  The point of an advertisement is to persuade people of the merits

of a particular product or service, in order that they will part with

some of their money. In the above-mentioned examples, what is

omitted can be clearly understood, it is easy to scan and find the key

words. these words are usually what people would like to find in

                   (这句话我看不懂!! Elliptical sentences are
such advertisements.

likely to render the style more concise and compact. They are

rhythmical and forceful. They are easy to remember and more

appealing to customers.

                            Chapter Four

          Rhetorical Devices in English Advertisements

  Rhetorical devices are various forms of expression deviating from

the normal arrangement or use of words, which are adopted in order

to give beauty, variety or force to a composition. Many of them are

used in English advertising to achieve three goals: first, it is to form

the brand image or corporate image in consumer‘s mind; second, to

stress the uniqueness of the advertised product; thirdly, to stress the

unique sales proposition of the advertised product. Among them, the

third is the most important because of its attraction.

 Hegel says, ‗beauty comes out of image‘(Albert E. Dipippo,

1986:3). The beauty of English advertising is first characterized by

its idiographic image. It embodies the materialized labor in a lively

and vivid way. Psychologically, image is realized through

imagination. With the help of rhetorical devices advertising leads

people to an artistic conception.

  In order to make their advertisements unique and eye-catching,

the copywriters have to make elaborate designs and draw up

remarkable verbal blueprints by working creatively and aptly

applying rhetorical devices. It can be said without any exaggeration

that the success of English advertisements has much to do with apt

employment of rhetorical devices. Frequently used rhetorical devices

are: simile, metaphor, personification, pun, antithesis, alliteration,

parallelism, parody, etc. The following rhetorical devices are often

used in English advertising, which are discussed briefly in this


4.1 Smile

  ―It is a figure of speech which makes a comparison between two

unlike elements having at least one quality or characteristic in

common. To make the comparison, words like as,, as if and

like are used to transfer the quality we associate with one to the

other.‖ (赵宝斌 编, 英语常见的修辞格, English Pizza Land, In other words, simile is a direct or explicit

comparison between two unrelated things, indicating a likeness or

similarity between some abstract qualities found in both things. The

connective word like or as serves as a bridge linking up the two. The

use of an apt simile creates a clear and vivid image of the advertised

product or service in consumers‘ interest and achieving their mental

and emotional resonance. Let‘s analyze the following examples.

(98)   Like a good neighbor. State Farm is there.

                                            (State Farm Insurance )91

  Here, State Farm Insurance is compared to a good neighbor. The

Bible instructs people to ―Love thy neighbor as thyself‖. In a

Christian society such as America, almost every one is familiar with

this instruction, so they will feel intimate and be moved by the

advertisement. People suddenly feel affection towards State Farm

Insurance. This advertisement is well based on the western culture.

(99)   Breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine.

                                        ( Greg Myers , 1994:125)

  This example is also a case of simile introduced by the connective

word like. The adman here compares breakfast without orange juice

to a day without sunshine. How vivid and imaginative the simile is!

As we all know, a day without sunshine is not warm and cheerful.

People usually do not like a cloudy or overcast day, or a day without

sunshine, and some people might feel sad or gloomy during days

without sunshine. In the opinion of the adman, for some people it is

not desirable to have breakfast without orange juice. So how nice to

have a breakfast with orange juice!

(100). The welcome is as warm as the climate at this friendly

complex, quietly positioned at the top of Puerto Rico hillside.92

  Sentence (100) is an example of simile in which the two parts

compared are linked by the words From the simile, we can

see that the climate is warm there, and so is the welcome extended to

the tourists. The use of simile in this example paints a vivid picture

of the people and climate there : the climate is warm and

comfortable , and the people there are friendly and enthusiastic and

always ready to offer you welcome as warm as the climate there.

  Though simile is an important rhetorical device in English

advertisements, it is far less frequently employed than metaphor,

which is one of the most frequently used rhetorical devices in

English advertisements.

4.2    Metaphor

  There are some definitions about metaphor, such as ―It is like a

simile, also makes a comparison between two unlike elements, but

unlike a simile, this comparison is implied rather than stated. For

example, the world is a stage.‖ (赵宝斌 编, 英语常见的修辞格,

English Pizza Land,; Myers described it in

this way, ‗Metaphor sets up a relation of similarity between two

referents, as if they were the same thing. X is described in terms of

Y ‘(Myers, 1994:125); C. Hugh Holman, defines metaphor in A

Handbook to Literature as “An implied analogy which imaginatively

identifies one object with another and ascribes to the first one or

more of the qualities of the second or invests the first with emotional

or imaginative qualities associated with the second.‖ (李中行,1987:


  From the above-mentioned definitions, we can gain a general

understanding of metaphor. Metaphor is an implied comparison

between two usually unrelated things indicating a likeness or

analogy between attributes found in both things. Metaphor, unlike

simile, does not use like or as to indicate the comparison. Without

the word as or like, it is more concise and always has a strong

feeling with some exaggeration. Metaphor is considered by many to

be the most important and the most common rhetorical device in

English advertisements. e.g.

(101) Kodak is Olympic color.93

(102) To spread your wings in Asia share our vantage point.94

(103) It‘s a country rich in art, with a wealth of museums. Blessed

by year round good weather, Spain is a magnet for sun worshippers

and holiday-makers. (Holiday France and Europe ,1996,p.148,

published by Stena Line???????)

  In Example (101), Kodak is compared to the color of Olympic.

Kodak shows the real color just as Olympic shows the real essence

of the sports. The metaphor in this implies that Kodak develops itself

by the Olympic spirit---higher, faster and stronger.        In Example

(102), readers are compared to big birds who spread their wings,

which creates a vivid picture. In Example (103), Spain and magnet ,

two different things, are compared along the dimension of

immensely strong attraction. The advertisement may be changed in

different ways: (a) … Spain is just like a magnet for sun worshippers

and holiday-makers; (b)… like a magnet, Spain is irresistibly

attractive to sun worshippers and holiday-makers; (c) …Spain is so

beautiful and so strongly attractive that it attracts, like a magnet, so

many sun worshippers and holiday-makers; (d) …Spain is as

strongly attractive as a magnet, drawing a large number of

worshippers and holiday-makers to its alluring places; (e) Spain is

such a country that many sun worshippers and holiday-makers are

irresistibly attracted to it and can not resist the temptation to go there

for sightseeing. Compare the original metaphorical sentence with the

given paraphrased sentences, and you will find the original

metaphorical sentence is much more concise and the two referents

involved in the metaphorical sentence are made to be more directly

associated with each other.

  ― Metaphors are valuable in advertising language because they

can help to suggest the right kind of emotive associations for the

product. The way we interpret a metaphor is to see a connection, or

symbolic identity, between the literal and figurative meaning of an

item (So in Bacon‘s apothegm, we understand an equation

‗books=food‘.). Such irrational identifications epitomize in language

what in more general terms is meant by building up an image for a

product. Or, to put the matter the other way round, a brand image is

a metaphor by which a product is identified with an object of the

consumer‘s desires‘ (Leech, 1966:182).

  Obviously, appropriate application of metaphors plays an

important role in English advertisements, which can not only render

advertisements attractive and picturesque, but also informative and

persuasive. So metaphors contribute to promoting the sale of

products and help make advertised service thrive and flourish.

4.3   Personification

  According to A Hand Book to Literature, published by the

Bobbs –Merrill Company in 1972, personification is ―a figure of

speech which endows animals, ideas, abstractions, and inanimate

objects with human form, character, or sensibilities; the representing

of imaginary creatures or things as having human personalities,

intelligence, and emotions; whether real or fictitious, by another

person.‖ However, the definition in Oxford Advanced Learner’s

Dictionary Of Current English With Chinese Translation (1991:1163)

is more concise, it defines personification as ―treating sth. that is

without life as a human being or representing it in human form‖.

However, the definition in English Pizza Land is more vivid, ―It

gives human form of feelings to animals, or life and personal

attributes to inanimate objects, or to ideas and abstractions. For

example, the wind whistled through the trees.‖ (赵宝斌 编, 英语常

见的修辞格,English Pizza Land,
  By personification we mean that something without life is

represented or thought of as a human being, or as having qualities or

feelings of human being. Personifying the advertised product and

giving it feeling and emotion, which only people possess, make an

advertisement more acceptable. Personification is often employed in

English advertisements. Let‘s observe the following examples.

(104) We are proud of the birthplaces of our children, the grapes of

     Almaden .

       On our classic varietal wines, you will find the birthplaces of

     our children.95

(105) Flowers by Interflora speak from the heart.96

(106) Oscar de la Renta knows what makes a woman beautiful.97

(107) She has her own spirit and it graces everyone she comes


(108) The outspoken Chanel.99

(109) ―Unlike me, my Rolex never needs a rest.‖100

  In Example (104), the grapes of Aldmen are personified: they

seem to be children of grape cultivators and wine makers, the date of

wine making seems to be the birth day of the wine, and the place of

grape cultivating seems to be the home town of the wine. By

personification, the adman paints a vivid and imaginative picture. In

Example (105), flowers are personified: they seem to be human

beings who speak from the heart. In other words, they are endowed

with human feelings of love, kindness, friendships, so they‘re really

invaluable gifts. When customers see this advertisement, they would

like to buy the flower to express their true and profound feelings. In

Example (106), Oscar de la Renta is personified because it knows

how to make women beautiful. Means of personification is more

effective than plain promotion for ladies who have strong affection

for beauty. In Example (107), the perfume, Lauren, is personified as

a graceful lady. ―She‖ refers not only to the perfume itself, but to the

beautiful lady who loves the perfume. The use of the feminine

gender ―she‖ indicates that the perfume is used exclusively by

females. In Example (108), Chanel is endowed with a human

characteristic--- being outspoken. Obviously, it is compared to a

straightforward and honest person. In Example (109), Rolex is

endowed with a human characteristic, but it never needs a rest,

which implies that the watch strikes the hour exactly, and it is the

most important quality expected of all watches.

  We can come to the conclusion that the use of personification in

advertising attracts the audiences‘ attention, stimulates their interest

in what is being advertised and helps create an impressive image of

the product or service.

4.4 Pun

    According to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary

(1986:1642), the pun is ―a humorous use of a word in such a way as

to suggest different meanings or applications of words having the

same sound or nearly the same sound but different meanings: a play

on words.‖ Another definition from English Pizza Land is, ―It is a

play on words, or rather a play on the form and meaning of words.‖

( 赵 宝 斌 编 , 英 语 常 见 的 修 辞 格 , English Pizza Land , Nida ( 1993:87 ) described it in such way,

―Plays on the meaning and formal resemblance of words (punning)

is a universal phenomenon, and in some languages this rhetorical

device is extensively encouraged and practiced.‖

  I found an interesting phenomenon: the definitions or descriptions

about pun always have a noun phrase---a play on words. Why is it a

play on words? Because puns rest on a superficial or accidental

similarity: two words sound the same, or one word that happens to

have two separate meanings. In other words, it takes advantage of

homophones and homonyms to suggest double meanings of words at

the same time, making a linguistic twist in advertising language. So

it is often said a play on word.

  Appropriate application of pun can attract readers‘ attention, make

the body copy readable and memorable and arouse consumers‘

interest and imagination. e.g.

(110) Make you every hello and real good buy.

(A Telephone Ad) 101

(111) From sharp minds. Come Sharp products.102

(112) Every Kid Should Have An Apple After School

( Apple IIC )103

(113) All you need is some good company, good coffee, and vivid

imagination. Let‘s take care of the coffee. Only Taster‘s choice is

good enough.104

(114) Which lager can claim to be truly German?

      This can. ( A big can of lager beside this ad)105

(115) The unique spirit of Canada: We bottled it.

  Right to the finish, its Canadian spirit stands out from the ordinary.

What keeps the favor coming. Super lightness. Super taste. If that‘s

where you‘d like to head, set your course Lord Calvert Canadian.106

  From above-mentioned examples, we can see, according to its

different occurrence, pun varies in different situations. At first, in

term of homophone, which means word pronounced like another

word but with a different meaning or spelling.(            Oxford Advanced

Learner’s Dictionary Of Current English With Chinese Translation ,1991:750).

Example (110) is very typical of this kind of pun. The copy writer

makes good use of homophones good-bye and good buy to satisfy

customers‘ psychology , to attract them and to promote the sale of

the product. A play on words in this advertisement is used to draw

the attention of    the reader to the product because people might

be amused by such a pun .

  Secondly, in terms of homonym, which means one word can be

taken in two senses. For instance, in example (114), can in the

second sentence is used as a pun: it can be regarded either as a

modal verb or as a container (can=tin ) containing drink or beer. So

can in this advertisement has double meanings, which is humorous,

witty and impressive; in example (115), spirit is used as a pun with

double meanings: one is the strong distilled alcoholic drink, the

other refers to the characteristic quality or mood of something. In

addition, bottle here has double meanings, too---one means putting

the wine into bottles, and the other means keeping the unique spirit

of Canada in by sealing. This example is an implicit pun.

  Thirdly, there is another type of pun, which means a word have

two different senses: one in its common use, the other representing

the brand name or the name of company. For instance, in Example

(111), Sharp is used as a pun. In the first sentence, it is used as an

adjective in its actual literal meaning, in the second sentence, it has

double meanings: one is an adjective in its habitual sense, the other

means the brand name of the typewriter, and also the company that

produces the products. In example (112), Apple refers to either the

fruit we eat, or the computer with this brand name: Apple. American

children usually eat some fruits or candies as their desserts. The

advertisement means that children should not only eat apples, but

also have an Apple computer, which is the spiritual food for them.

The noun Taster in example (113) is used as a pun: it means either

the brand name of the coffee or the person whose job is to judge the

quality of coffee, wine, tea, etc. by tasting it. The ambiguity of the

pun adds good quality to the coffee with this brand name. It seems

that the coffee has been confirmed by the person of authority.

  Puns which are often emp1oyed by the manufacturers to seek

first-hand attention, are almost the most attention-getting device of

the rhetorical figures. The nature of puns in advertising is nicely

captured by Attridge??????: ―the pun is the product of a contest

deliberately constructed to enforce an ambiguity, to render

impossible the choice between meanings, to leave the reader or

hearer endlessly oscillating in semantic space‖ ( Richard, 1983:141).

As far as I know, the pun is one of the most favored rhetorical

devices employed by copy writers and one of the most common

rhetorical devices used in English advertisements.

4.5 Antithesis

  The definition in Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary Of

Current English With Chinese Translation (1991:55), ―contrast of

ideas marked by the choice and arrangement of words‖ might sound

abstract. We can quickly catch the meaning of antithesis by the

following definition, ―It is the deliberate arrangement of contrasting

words or ideas in balanced structural forms to achieve emphasis. For

example, speech is silver; silence is golden.‖ (赵宝斌编, 英语常见

的修辞格, English Pizza Land, In other
words, antithesis means that words of opposite meanings are used in

coordinate or balanced positions or structures. The function of

antithesis is to bring out a sharp contrast between the two things or

two persons, etc. in some aspects, so as to emphasize a certain point

and create a deep impression on readers‘ minds. Antithesis is also

frequently employed in English advertisements, e.g.

(116) Going East. Staying Westin.

      Breathtaking by day, electrifying by night. The view from the

Westin Standford, Singapore, the world‘s tallest hotel.107

(117) With all taste, without all the fat and cholesterol.108

(118) Once tasted, always loved.109

(119) Exclusivity

       Sought-after by many, acquired by only the few.110

  In example (116), the first sentence is the headline of the ad of

The Westin Standford, Singapore. Westin reminds people of East‘s

opposite: West; day and night in the body copy are opposite in

meaning. The meaning expressed by the antithesis is very attractive

to the prospective consumers. In example (117), with and without

form a contrast: with all taste but without all the fat and cholesterol.

The attraction created by the antithesis is really irresistible to the

people who love to eat but try to get fit and slim. In example (118),

once and always contrast strongly, which shows the power of the

product. Once the product is tasted, it is always loved by you. In

Example (119), many and the few are antonyms, the meaning

expressed by the antithesis is very attractive to the potential buyers:

although the product is sought-after by many, yet it is acquired by

only the few, which will stimulate readers‘ interest and urge them to

get it. The use of antithesis in this example greatly contributes to

bringing out the unique effect --- exclusivity.

4.6      Alliteration

      According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current

English with Chinese Translation (1989: ‗ The occurrence of the

same letter or sound at the beginning of two or more words in

succession is called alliteration.‘ Now let‘s see another definition of

alliteration, which is more definite in my opinion, ―It has to do with

the sound rather than the sense of words for effect. It is a device that

repeats the same sound at frequent intervals and since the sound

repeated is usually the initial consonant sound, it is also called ‗front

rhyme‘. For instance, the fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, the

furrow followed free.‖(赵宝斌 编, 英语常见的修辞格,English

Pizza Land, Alliteration is a common

technique used in poetry, but advertisements often transplant it to

achieve beauty and rhythm in the language of advertising. In order to

produce a special effect, the copy writer sometimes makes much

effort to build up a pattern of similarity in advertising texts. That is

why alliteration is often used. e.g.

(120)                   PULLING

                         WEEDS CAN BE

                          REPETIVE AND


                          NOT TO MENTION

                          REPETIVE AND REDUNDANT

                          Or you can kill the roots with Roundup

                          And those weeds won‘t be back.

                          NO ROOT.

                          NO WEED.

                          NO PROBLEM.111


                   One week hotel and airfare.



                       French Airlines112

(122)       Health, Humor $ Happiness…Gifts we‘d love to give.113

(123)     Spare, shapely and sensational.

        One-step dressing at its very best. 114

    Example (120) cited above, which is an advertisement of a

  weed-killer, repeats the /r/ sound. The use of alliteration in this

  advertisement renders it smooth to read and easy to remember. In

  example (121), the letters UN are found in three words, which

  makes a strong impression on the reader‘s mind. Example (122) is

  an advertisement of a magazine, the letter H is found in three

  words, which creates a favorable impression on readers, some of

  whom will be likely to buy this magazine. Example (123) is an ad

  of clothing. The letter s is used in these three words. The use of

  alliteration in this ad renders it smooth to read and easy to

  remember, and evokes a wonderful impression of the clothing on

  the readers‘ minds. With the development of economy, people

  begin to pay much attention to their life quality. Alliteration is

  employed with these three words---spare, shapely and sensational.

  It catches people‘s psychology of wanting to be slim, elegant and

  beautiful. These three words tell us that the advertised clothes not

  only make people lean and well-formed, but also cause them to

  feel wonderful and exciting. So I think that it is hard for ladies not

  to be attracted.

4.7    Repetition

      Repetition is defined as saying the same thing again, though

  perhaps with a significant difference. Repetition, including

  repetition of key words and key phrases and that of similar

  structures, is an important rhetorical device employed to stress the

  tone, to bring out the message, and to link up what goes before

   with what comes after. In English advertising, repetition,

   especially that of key words or sentences, is used to emphasize

   some important aspects of the advertised product or service or

   certain information, so as to attract and stimulate consumers.

   Aptly used, repetition is very impressive and rhetorical. e.g.

(124) Look.

Lustrous eye-shadows with new Silkglide Formula.

Look again.

Colors that last so long. Blend so smooth. Stay so true. (That‘s no


Look again. 35 jewel-like tones to try. 7175 combinations

for just 2 eyes.

Look again. A life of perfect coordination. CUSTOM EYES from


Look again. And you‘ll never look again. 115

(125)              NEVER











        Pick up on mighty Pentium Processor power.

        Pick up on outstanding value for money.

        Pick up on better desktop choice.

        Pick up on increase mobility.

        Pick up on assured peace of mind.117

(127) ARE YOU

        Looking for that special place to relax?

        Looking for that special place with peace and quiet?

        Looking for that special place with safe play areas and tennis


        Looking for that special place as a base for golf, touring or



        The Scandinavian lodges are ideal for your self-catering


  In Example (124), ―look again‖ is repeated five times, which

projects the remarkable qualities of the product and leaves a deep

impression on readers‘ minds. Example (125) is an advertisement for

Bijan perfume, here ―never‖ is repeated nine times, which impresses

readers deeply. Negative form, because of the strong negative effect

this form carries, is the least used syntactic feature in advertising.

Whenever it is used in advertising, a negative sentence expresses a

strong positive meaning by negating a certain undesirable aspect.

Example (125) is a negative sentence with the word of negation

―never‖ repeated nine times. The verb ―compromise‖ means ―bring

shame to or put into a dishonorable position‖. Example (125)

undoubtedly expresses a highly positive idea: Quality always goes

first with us. The negative sentence implies that the greatest

importance is attached to the quality of the product, and that the

greatest effort is made to achieve the best quality, thus creating a

wonderful image of the brand. In current society, people tend to be

more sociable and attend some kinds of parties. They often like to

use perfume to make them more attractive. The advertised perfume

with top quality will be their first choice.

    In example (126), the phrasal verb Pick up on appears five times,

respectively in the headline and in the sub-headlines. Undoubtedly,

the idea expressed by Pick up on is what the advertiser wants to

emphasize. Also, the repetition of the phrasal verb renders the

headline and the sub-headline parallel and forceful, which will

arouse readers‘ interest and possess strong persuasive effect. In

example (127), Looking for that special place turns up four times in

succession in four consecutive questions, rendering the questions

parallel and rhythmical and very impressive. In fact, the repetition of

Looking for that special place makes the ad text smooth to read,

enhances its rhythm, and adds to its persuasiveness, which draws the

readers‘ attention to the amenities of the lodges being advertised.

  Psychologists hold the view that for a message to cross the stage

of perception and enter into memory, people need to be exposed to it

at least for three times or even more. This explains why some

advertisers use repetition in their advertisements to express the

message and to reinforce memory. Furthermore, the repetition serves

as an reinforcement to the initial impression the audience get when

coming across an advertisement. As a result, the audience will

possibly remember the promoted product for quite a long period.

4.8    Parallelism

  “Formal schemes, or parallelisms, are often ‗rhetorical‘ in a

familiar sense of the word, in that they heighten the emotional tone

of the message, giving insistent emphasis to points of strategic

importance‖ (Leech ,1966:190). Parallelism also could be thought as

a kind of repetition due to accompaniment of repetition, but phrases

or sentences with the same or similar structure, relative meaning and

consistent mood are coordinately used in the sentence. It can show

strong feelings easily, stress the information and strengthen the vigor

of language. Meanwhile, its orderly drills??????, trenchant rhythm

can add to the rhyme of advertising language. Parallelism is a

powerful rhetorical device frequently employed in English

advertisements.      Let‘s analyze some examples.

(128) On this planet, more people get their news from Time than

any other single source---over 30 million people, worldwide. We‘ll

tell you the odds before they are out. We‘ll publish what other

publications dare not. We‘ll give you inside information you won‘t

find elsewhere.119

(129) It is made differently. It is made using skills and techniques

that others have lost or forgotten. It is made with attention to detail

very few people would notice. It is made, we have to admit, with a

total disregard for time.120


                                  Christian Dior

                                  MASCARA PARFAIT

                       PERFECTION IN THE WINK OF AN EYE.

                       PERFECTION IN ITS FORMULAR.

                       PERFECTION IN ITS BRUSH.

                       PERFECTION IN A LOOK.121

(131)    Embrace change, and you will win

       Tiptronic transmission provides ultimate driving pleasure

                           Stay in the lead, and you will win

          Unsurpassed power from a 2.8l V6 30v engine

                            Go the distance, and you will win

       Fully zinc galvanized bodywork with a 12year anti-rust


             Expect the unexpected, and you will win

               Four front and side airbags provide better protection

             Triumph over adversity, and you will win

ABS/EDS system makes light work of the most harsh road


             Always have room in heart, and you will win

  Enlarged, spacious inner cabin provides maximum driving


                  Stand firm, and you will win

Overall car body strength is increased by superior laser welding


                   Drive Passat, and you will win

                    Achievers of tomorrow

                                   (CHINA DAILY DEC.25 2002 要

  In the above-quoted advertisements, example (128) is the body

copy of a press advertisement. It consists of four sentences, three of

which begin with we’ll and form a typical parallel structure, which

sounds rhythmical and powerful. Appropriate application of

parallelism underlines the characteristic of the magazine and builds

up a good image of the advertiser. Example (129) is the body copy

of a clock advertisement. The parallelism is supported by repetition

of It is made. Appropriate application of parallelism reinforces the

traditional characteristic in the clock manufacturing. Example (130)

is the body copy of a mascara parfait advertisement. In this

advertisement, perfection in appears four times. The parallelism

involved in this example, together with the repetition,builds up a

wonderful image of the effect of using this cosmetic in the readers‘

minds. Example (131) is an advertisement for promotion of the sale

of a type of cars with the brand name Passat. In this advertisement,

The conjunction and and the main clause you will win are repeated

seven times. The parallelism involved in this example, together with

the repetition,builds up a wonderful image of the car in the readers‘

mind, which will deeply impress the prospective consumers and

stimulate their desire to get it.

  Parallelism is widely found in English advertisements, where

parallel sentences usually build up to a climax. By applying

parallelism, the copy writer intends to heighten the emotional tone of

the advertising theme, to project the main idea, or to create a good

and reliable image of the product or the service being advertised.

4.9 Parody

  Mottoes, proverbs or idioms are fixed famous sentences in daily

life, which reflect simple but real morals. Because they have already

been accepted as truths for a long time, the use of them makes

advertisements easier to be accepted. Parody is the deliberate

imitation of them with some words changed to express a new idea.

Parody is concise, implicative and profound in meaning. With a

remarkable rhetorical effect, parody enables readers to take account

of implied meanings.

  Advertisements are designed to sell things or ideas. The essence

of an advertising copy aims at relating designative and associative

meanings in the closest possible way, since ‗ selling ‘ usually

depends far more on associative meanings than on designative ones.

Most people buy with their emotions, not with their minds (Nida,

1993: 40-41 ). Associative meanings are closely linked to rhetorical

devices. That is why parody as a rhetorical device is often employed

in English advertisements. Now let‘s see some examples.

(132) All roads lead to Holiday Inn .

                                             (Holiday Inn)122

(133) Not all cars are created equal.

    Performance or economy? That‘s the question every car buyer

asks, and which every manufacturer must find a better answer to. Or

is it?      ( Mitsubishi Car)123

(134) By    the   people.   For    the   people.   To   the   people.

(AST computer )124

(135) A Mars a day keeps you work, rest and play .125

   Example (132) is an advertisement for Holiday Inn. Seeing this

headline, you will be reminded of the famous saying: All roads lead

to Rome. This saying is often related to success, which will create a

pleasant impression on the prospective consumers. People might

think living in Holiday Inn will bring them good luck. Example (133)

is an advertisement for promotion of the sale of cars by the Japanese

company in U.S.A. The headline will remind American people of the

most famous saying ― All men are created equal.‖ in the Declaration

of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, who is considered as one of

the most talented presidents in American history.       The headline,

which imitates this famous saying, attracts great attention, its

negative form projecting the remarkable qualities of the product. The

advertiser cleverly makes good use of the famous saying by

changing ―All men are created equal.‖ into ― Not all cars are created

equal.‖ The parody, on the one hand, gives prominence to the

superiority of the product, and on the other hand, leaves a deep

impression on the Americans by means of originality. In addition,

seeing the body copy, Americans with some knowledge of English

literature all know that it is a variant of the famous opening sentence

in Hamlet by Shakespeare, so it creates a strong literary atmosphere.

Example (134) is an advertisement for promotion of the sale of AST

computer. It is a parody of a famous sentence in          ―Address at

Gettysburg‖ by President Lincoln, whose reputation among US

presidents remains unsurpassed. Lincoln is one of the most

influential men in the history of mankind. He overcame

insurmountable obstacles and challenges to become the sixteenth

president of the United States of America. His famous saying

― …and that government of the people, by the people, for the people,

shall not perish from the earth.‖ in Gettysburg is considered one of

the most inspiring speeches ever written. It is hard not to be moved

by these words. The copy writer changes ― …government of the

people, by the people, for the people …‖ into ― By the people. For

the people. To the people.‖ How apt and vivid the imitation is!

People with some knowledge of American history might be attracted

by the advertisement. What‘s more, the mental link established

between the product and a famous person will prevail for some time,

hence, the retention of the message in readers‘ minds. As a result,

some prospective purchasers would take real action. Example (135)

may make almost all native speakers and learners of English

immediately remember the two proverbs ― An apple a day keeps the

doctor away.‖ and ― All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.‖

Naturally, it seems that people will be healthy (― keeps the doctor

away‖)and clever(―not become a dull body) if they eat this kind of

chocolate every day . This advertisement also reminded me of the

famous remarks: ―Advertising is the main weapon that manufactures

use in their attempt to ‗produce‘ an adequate consuming market for

their products. To this end advertising works to create false needs in

people (false because they are the needs of manufacturers rather than

consumers)‖(Jhally, S. 1990: 3). In modern society, people wish to

be healthy and successful at the same time. The advertiser makes

much effort just to stimulate people‘s consumption desire. The two

proverbs are familiar to most people, who will accept and memorize

this advertisement easily.

  In addition to the above mentioned frequently used rhetorical

devices, other devices such as hyperbole and rhyme are likewise

often used in English advertising. In fact, rhetorical devices are

frequently and properly employed in English advertising, creating

charming images of commodities, services and advertisers,

projecting special features or unique characteristics of advertised

products and services, and promoting the sale of products and


  It is to be noted that rhetorical devices are frequently employed

in English advertising to emphasize the special features or unique

characteristics of the product or service being advertised, to project

good images of the brand and the manufacturer, to persuade

potential customers to take action, etc. When persuasion is the main

objective, the method in which the statement is expressed may be

more important than its content. In advertising, strict regulations

require that any information imparted has to be legally binding and

therefore absolutely correct, so the advertiser may choose to employ

a rhetorical device in order to shift the emphasis from concrete

‗facts‘ to a less concrete and more emotional level. As a result, a car

may be advertised as being ‗reassuring‘ rather than making the claim

that it is ‗reliable‘.

                     Chapter Five      Conclusion

  Today in China, while our economic structure is shifting from the

entirely planned economy to the socialist market system, advertising

is becoming more and more active and sophisticated. In 1992,

China‘s advertising expenditure reached $862 million, among the

fastest growing countries in Asia. Now with China‘s entry into WTO,

this expenditure figure will undoubtedly rise up, which will support

the view that advertising is an indispensable means for providing the

information that all market-oriented industrialized societies need for

economies to function efficiently.

  And as English is one of the most widely used languages in the

world, it is necessary to study and analyze the language features of

English advertising. Current advertisements reflect radical changes

in the technology, media, the social and economic relations, the

sense of personal and group identity. For the insight they provide the

nature of these changes; and for the way they prepare us for further

changes to come. It is a particular valuable field of study.

  It goes without saying that research into the language of English

advertising is both interesting and rewarding. To achieve this

awareness, we should not only have a good understanding of the

language of English advertising, but also know its influence on the

English language, its trend and existing problems.

5.1 Influence on English Language

  One obvious influence of English advertising on the English

language lies in the fact that English advertising contributes a lot of

new words to the vocabulary stock of modern English.

  Some products or services are so popular that they have

significantly changed people‘s life patterns. Their brand names,

product names or words appearing in their advertisements enter the

lexical items instead of being the privilege of English advertising.

For example the word ―mackintosh‖ originally was the brand name

of raincoat. It was named after its inventor, Charles Mackintosh.

However, in modern English, it almost becomes the substitute for

any raincoat. The association between the brand name and the

product has been cut off. In this category we also can include

―jacuzzi‖, the brand name of a bathing service; ―crock pot‖, the

brand name of an electric cooker; ―aspirin‖, the brand name of a

medicine treating headache; ―xerox‖, the brand name of photo

copier ; ‖ ―biro‖, the brand name of a ball-pen.

  The other type of words contributing to the English language are

the advertising coinages, whose abundance is one of the lexical

features of English advertising. The most typical example is the

word ―pinta‖ in the advertising slogan of British milk: ―Drinka pinta

milka day‖, which is mentioned in the second chapter. This slogan

acquired its popularity immediately after its appearance and became

a household word. And later the coined word ―pinta‖ became the

substitute for ―milk‖, and many people would use ―pinta‖ rather than

―milk‖, although the latter are also found in everyday usage. The

other advertising coinages coming into the common core of the

English      language        include:      cellophane,       escalator,

travolator, ??????????????etc.

  All of these words contributed by English advertising are used by

modern English speakers so commonly that even lexicographers

have to include them in the dictionary as lexical entries. In this way,

their ―legal‖ status in the English language has been confirmed.

Some of them become so common and even get derivatives, such as

―escalatory‖ from ―escalator‖, ―xerography‖ from ―xerox‖, etc.

  There‘s a paradox about such words, especially those words from

brand names. Advertisers always want consumers to notice their

advertisements and remember the advertised products longer so they

make great endeavor to create eye-catching and easy-to-remember

brand names. Nevertheless, with the popularity of the products,

some brand names turn out to be common words and lose their

originality as advertising coinages. But, on the other hand,

advertisers often have to apply for patent right to protect their

privilege of using brand names, and prevent competitors from taking

advantage of their inventions. For example, in order to protect its

privilege of the word ―Xerox‖, the company‘s legal adviser even

warns the general public not to say ―I‘ll xerox a copy for you‖, but

to say ―I‘ll make a duplicate for you on the xerox copier‖. However,

the extensive utilization of the promoted product usually makes such

efforts end in vain. At last, these brand names will inevitably become

common words of the English language in general and are used by

the public to refer to types of products. So when they create some

extraordinary brand names, advertisers have to face the reality that

one day they will lose their privilege of such brand names. This is

the price they have to pay for the popularity of their products.

  Another main influence on English advertising is so-called

movement of ―colloquialisation‖, which is also a main contribution

of English advertising to the English language.

  Advertising has been in the vanguard of this tendency, which has

gained impetus in the 20th century particularly through the

development of the popular press and radio and television

broadcasting. Together with the overwhelming popularity of

advertising, English advertising with the public-colloquial style,

produces much influence on the English language as a whole.

English advertising contributes a great deal to the movement of

―colloquialisation‖ and is partly responsible for the rise of      the

public-colloquial style.( 方薇, 1997:7 )

  At present, colloquialism seems to be the general trend. For

instance, if we compare contemporary prose with that of the 19th

century, we will find that prose today is generally simpler, easier and

livelier. When we appreciate modern prose, we should pay tribute to

English advertising. It is partly through the influence of English

advertising that modern users of the English language acquire the

public-colloquial style for public communication.

  The influence of English advertising justifies the relationship

between a language and its users; people create a language form as

desired; this form, in turn affects people‘s conception of the

language as a whole.

5.2   Trend of English Advertising

  When describing a product‘s qualities, advertisers prefer a

―sincere‖ suggestion rather than an explicit declaration. These

advertisers act as multi-sensory authors who use a style of literary

deceptiveness for commercial purposes. Through weak implications,

advertisers aim to influence and direct consumer‘s behavior based on

advertising language that is very secretly constructed. Advertisers

control inference possibilities by both demarcating message

parameters and by skillfully accessing audience prior knowledge.

Message recipients are then more likely to construct inferences that

have a limited substantiated base.

  One trend of English advertising, as many linguistics have feared,

is that the advertising language becomes elusive and manipulative.

Authors like Aldous Huxley and E.B.White have warned of its

manipulative nature. As Barbara Stern aptly rationalizes, the

deceptive nature of advertising language lies in the fact that it

frequently uses poetic license to say one thing and mean another,

borrowing literary tactics to convey messages by means other than

or in addition to the words ( Charles A. O‘Neill , 1986:72 ).

  The other trend of English advertising is: the language is getting

oral and the grammar is getting simpler. All these changes, if

carelessly used, may easily lead to ambiguity and misunderstanding,

which affects the product‘s image negatively. The most authoritative

critic of advertising is journalist Edwin Newman. In his book Strictly

Speaking, he worries that the careless utilization of language might

some day threaten the survival of the English (Charles A O‘Neill,


  Now let‘s see the following example.

  ―Tired of cleaning yourself ? Let me do it.‖

  The ad is a company that provides all kinds of service to family

like cleaning windows, carpets and etc. But from its sentence

structure, it is obviously misleading and even ridiculous to the

readers. If   ―yourself‖ is used as an object, ―cleaning yourself‖

simply means taking a shower or a bath. As a consequence the whole

sentence means: if you are tired of taking a bath, our company will

do this for you. But if the sentence order is like this : ―yourself tired

of cleaning ? Let me do it. ‖ This meaning is what the company

really intends to convey to the customer.

  The above-mentioned sentence is a typical example of ambiguity

caused by words, conjunctions, and modifications. If we don‘t pay

much attention to this tendency, it will lead to vagueness in

expression , leading the consumers to misunderstanding.

   The language of advertising appeals to our emotional needs

under the skillful craftsmanship of       the copywriter. At the same

time, language is always on the way of changing. So does the

language in advertising. Charles A.‘ Oneill      (1986:117) states: over

the years the texture of advertising Language has frequently changed.

Styles and creative concepts come and go. But there are at least four

distinct general characteristics of the language of advertising that

make it different from other languages.

  The language of advertising is edited and purposeful.

   1. The language of advertising is rich and arresting: it is

      specifically intended to attract and hold our attention.

   2. The language of advertising involves us; in effect, we

      complete the advertising message.

   3. The language of advertising holds no secrets from us; it is a

      simple language.

  In summary, though some of the language characteristics of

English advertisements are developing to the linguist‘s worry and

dismay, its propaganda and practical roles still cannot be underlined

and advertising will never fade into history.

5.3 Problems of English Advertising

  Nowadays, a lot of international products are pouring into the

Chinese market, and at the same time more and more Chinese

products are entering the international market. In order to meet the

international standard, advertisements for products should be written

in English language.

  Of English advertisements designed and created in China, there

are some really good ones which not only promote products by

bringing out their advantages and features but also conform to the

cultural psychology and reception aesthetics of intended customers.

However, there are many bad advertising texts which not only lower

reputation and sale of the products, but even affect the image of our

country .

  ― Asia Week ‖ (Sep. 1987) once carried an article ― Mind Your

Language ‖ by an American lady Mrs Mary Gornety. In this article,

the comment made towards the English advertising on Asian

exported products is cited. In this article, the writer said that many

Asian exports are accompanied by odd English advertisements so

that the customer may judge the products to be shoddy, too, when

shoddy English reaches him. This is the sincere advice and impartial

judgement made by a foreigner. We must pay much attention to this

problem and make great effort to solve it.

  According to the various materials I have collected, existing

problems can be classified into the following.

Misprints and Spelling Errors

  When I collected English advertisements, I found many misprints

and spelling errors. Here are some of them.

(136)                       MOUTAI

  Moutai is one of China‘s renowned liquors which enjoys acclaim

both at home and abroad.

  Production of Moutai beganin 1704 in the town of that name in

Renhuai county, Kweichow province. Selected wheat, the choicest

sorghum and excellent local water go into its preparation. Traditional

brewing expertise together with long aging gives Moutai its

characteristically distinctive bouquet.

  In this English advertisement,    ―beganin‖ is obviously a misprint.

It should be ― began in ‖. Even the brand name is wrongly spelt.

―Moutai‖ should have been spelt as Maotai.


  Clearing away heat and relieving exterior syndromes, soothing the

liver and regulating the function of the stomach. It is used for

aiternate spells of fever and chills, feeling of fullness and discomfort

in the chest and hypochondrium, vexation and vomiting with nausea,

bitterness in the mouth and dryness in the throat.

  This is an advertisement for Chinese medicine--- Xiao Cai hu.

Here ―alternate‖ is misspelled as ―aiternate‖. ―hypochondria‖ is an

uncountable noun, but the author took it for granted that

―hypochondrium‖ was the plural form of ―hypochondria‖ , so he or

she used ―hypochondrium‖ in the advertising text.

(138)            BUTTER COOKIES

   Feast is the concept. The purpose is to present the visual

preception of the richness and variety of a handsome gift, which

consists of product an blessing; to share with friends and family not

only delicate taste but also joy and happiness.

  This is an advertisement for President Butter Cookies,

―perception‖ is misspelled as ― preception ‖, and ―product and

blessing‖此短语逻辑意义不通,不仅仅是拼写错误! is misspelled

as ―product an blessing ‖ , .


  Double-conditioning of hair and scalp keeps your hair healthy

looking, manageable and shing.

  This is an advertisement for Shu Lei Shampoo, ―shing‖ is

obviously a misprint. It should be ―shiny‖. Moreover, the word

―looking‖ is superfluous.

Diction Mistake


This product has been to be insured for the foodstuff quality and

hygiene by the China People‘s Insurance Company.

  Even in this one-sentence example you can find a few mistakes

which are misleading.       The correct sentence should be: This

product has been insured against food accidents by the Chinese

People‘s Insurance Company.


…PH deviates basicity, be similar with peoples‘ skin. Nature

mildness, rich foam. Protecting the skin of children especially,

forming natural sheltery    membrance on the surface of skin to

increase resistant ability. Meantime, throwing away prickly heat,

preventing   itch,   resisting    bacteria.   Leaves     children      clean,

comfortable and activity feeling .

                                                                 -      Kids

Children Healthing Bath

  In this example, there are several diction mistakes and spelling

errors: ―PH deviates basicity‖, ―be similar with peoples‘ skin‖,

―sheltery     membrance‖         and   ―Healthing      Bath‖,   ect.     The

advertisement can be improved as:

…Ideal PH balance, similar to people‘s skin. Nature mildness, rich

foam. Protecting children‘s skin especially, forming natural shelter

membrane on the surface of skin to increase resistance ability.

Meanwhile, throwing away prickly heat, preventing itch, resisting

bacteria. Leave children clean, comfortable and active.


Children Shower Gel

Grammar Errors

(142) This product contains snake‘s bile, Liu—sheng and pearl‘s

hydrolytic liquid. It can make skin feel cool and remove uncomfort

causing by mosquitoes and insects.

  This is an advertisement for Liu—Sheng toilet water. In this

example, ―uncomfort‖ is a wrong word, it should be ―discomfort ‖;

―causing‖ is used wrongly too, for the word ―cause‖ here should be

in past participle: caused. There is another mistake in the last

sentence. As mosquitoes are small flying insects (esp. the type that

spreads malaria ), so they belong to the category of insects, and so it

can not be coordinated with ―insect‖.


   It contain with AHA and protein. It is good for eliminate

inflammation, anti-wrinkles when often use. And it can cleanwhite,

moisture your skin.

                                 -LYOLAN Anti-wrinkle AHA milk

   In this advertisement, there are several grammar mistakes.

―Contain‖ is a transitive verb used after the third person singular

noun, so the correct form is ―contains‖ without ―with‖; ―eliminate‖

after the preposition ―for ‖ should be a gerund; ―inflammation‖ and

― anti-wrinkles‖ are coordinated according to the meaning, but ―anti‖

should be omitted; ―use‖ here should be in the past participle. In

addition, ―cleanwhite‖ and ―moisture‖ are diction mistakes. As the

former is an adjective, and the latter a noun, they can not be

coordinated. This advertisement may be improved as follows:

  Containing AHA and protein, it is good for eliminating

inflammation, wrinkles when used daily. It can clean and moisturize

your skin.

Logical Mistakes


  It is proven by morden science research that Jinsi date contains

richly 18 kinds of amino acids, trace elements, calcium, phosphorus,

iron and kinds of vitamins needed by human body. Its content is 700

mg/100g, 100 times higher than apple‘s. It is known as ― the living

vitamin ball‖.

  In this example, there are several logical mistakes. In the first

sentence, ―contains richly‖ is inappropriate, the following number

―18‖ has already shown the meaning of rich; calcium, phosphorus,

and iron belong to the category of trace elements, so they can not

be coordinated with trace elements.?????? In the second sentence,

what ―Its content ‖ refers to is also logically unclear. According to

the advertisement, we think it refers to the content of Jinsi date, but

actually it should refer to ―the content of vitamins‖. In addition,

there are a spelling error and a diction mistake: ―modern‖ is

misspelled as ―morden‖; ―science research‖ normally should be

written as ―scientific research‖. This advert can be rewritten as:

  It is proven by modern scientific research that Jinsi date contains

18 kinds of amino acids, many kinds of trace elements: calcium,

phosphorus, iron and vitamins needed by the human body. The

content of vitamins is 700 mg/100g, 100 times higher than that of

apples. It is known as ― the living vitamin ball‖.


  If it is redundant, an advertisement can not capture readers‘

attention, so the objectives of the advertisement cannot be achieved.

In order to catch the readers‘ attention, the advertising text should be

concise and explicit. E.g.

(145) On the basis of traditional formula, Sterculia Scaphigera pear

syrup prescription is extracted and concerned with modern hitech,

which material belongs to a breed of ― A food, also a drug‖ issued by

Ministry of Public Health. Take a strict human function test by State

Functional Designated Experimental Hospital – ― China Academy of

Traditional Chinese Medicine Xiyuan Hospital ‘‘. Be only a health

food in sterculia scdphigeras (scaphigeras) approved by Ministry of

Public Health at present. Through marketing trial for many years,

get the title of   ― A Trustful Product in Quality & Measurement in

The New Century ‖.

  The above-mentioned advertisement is not only full of misspelling

and grammatical mistakes, but redundant and difficult to read. Now

let‘s see the translated version. In the first sentence,     ―Sterculia

Scaphigera pear syrup prescription is extracted and concerned with

modern hitech.‖ is obviously wrong. ―prescription‖ cannot be

extracted and concerned with modern hi-tech, so it should be

omitted; ―modern hitech‖ should be written as ― high modern

technology‖; ―which material belongs to ‖ should be ―whose

materials belong to‖; in the second sentence, ―Take‖ here should be

a present participle: ―Taking‖; in the third sentence, there is a word

misspelled, ―scdphigeras‖, it should be ―scaphigeras‖. I venture to

rewrite this advertisement as:

  On the basis of traditional Pear Syrup formula, Sterculia

Scaphigera Pear Syrup, whose materials belong to a breed of ― A

food, also a drug‖ issued by Ministry of Public Health, has won the

title of ― A Trustful Product in Quality & Measurement in the New

Century ‖ through marketing trial for many years. It is refined with

high modern technology and tested on human function by State

Designated Experimental Hospital –Xiyuan Hospital under China

Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine.


  Royal jelly can nourish the body, stimulate the appetite. It has the

function for chronic diseases with supplementary curative effect and

restored health. It is helpful for youth and children to build up their

intelligence and physique.

  There are three sentences in this advertisement, and the last two

sentences are redundant. In addition, ―restored health‖ is a

grammatical mistake. This advertisement can be rewritten as :

  Royal jelly can nourish your body and stimulate your appetite. It

has a supplementary curative effect for chronic diseases and can

restore health. It is helpful for youngsters to build up their

intelligence and physique.

  At present, when many copywriters begin to write advertising

texts of products, they know little about the products and don‘t take

a lot of time to read through the related materials. Without sufficient

knowledge of the products, the advertising texts will be poor.

Advertising is certainly a science as well as an art. It covers several

fields of knowledge, including language, culture, marketing,

aesthetics and consumers‘ psychology. As a science, it should

follow the norms of languages. As an art, it attempts to create

desirable advertisements with cultural and aesthetic value. If the

advertiser does not have such kind of senses, how can he convey the

essence of an advertisement appropriately in another language?

  In order to give foreign customers a sensible and explicit

description of the products and services and to achieve success in

advertising, the copywriters are supposed to meet the following

requirements. Firstly, the copywriters should be bilingual, i.e. they

should master both Chinese and English. Secondly, the copywriters

should be bicultural, i.e. they should take into account TL customers‘

culture and psychology, and have some knowledge of marketing,

aesthetics, etc. Last but not least, the copywriters should have

adequate knowledge and good appreciation of the nature,

specification , uses, etc. of the product or service being advertised.

  Language is a carrier of advertisements. Advertisers must

continually adjust their language to conform to changes and

grammatical rules. I conclude my paper with the slogan for Toshiba:

―In touch with the world.‖


1---6. 8. 赵静编 广告英语》 北京:
             《     ,   外语教学与研究出社,1992,

pp.33-34, p.22.

7. 9.张益明,盛国强,钱晓玲,倪修憬编〈 文本写作〉,杭州:

浙江大学出版社, 2002, p.64, p.66.

10.11.同 1---6. pp.77-78, p.271, pp.77-78. p.271.

16.李中行编〈 广告英语〉,长沙:湖南教育出版社, 1987,p.42.
       〈      〉

18.崔刚主编〈 广告英语 3000 句选萃分析欣赏〉,北京: 北京理

工大学出版社, 1993,pp.172-173.

19.同 1---6. p.194

20. 21.同 18. p.130.

22.23.胡志伟,吴克明编, 英语广告词精品〉,北京: 北京大

学出版社, 1999,p.69, p.108.

24.25.同 22. p.69.

26. 27.同 1---6. p.282.

28.29.30.段胜峰 ,李罡,        中国科技翻译 2001

第 2 期, p.24。

31.32. 33.34.35. 同 1---6. pp.265-266, p.274, p.89, p.275.

36. 同 18,p.57.

37. 同 1---6. p.275. p.214, p.218, p.227, p.73.

42.同 16. p111.

43.同 1---6,p.209.

44. 48. 49. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 60.61. 63 同 16. p111, p112, p113.


64.65.66. 同 1---6. pp.125-126.

67.68. 同 16. p.122. 同 1---6. p.171, p.107, p.98, p.150, p.2, p.66.

75. 同 18. p.133.

76-79. 同 1---6. p.277.

80-81. 同 16. p.127.

82.83-88. 同 1---6. p.278.

89.90. 91. 92.张佐成, 广告英语文体特色探析, 佛山科学技术

学院学报(社会科学版),                2000 年 1 月第 18 卷第 1 期。

93.谭卫国,英汉广告常用辞格及其功能,上海: 上海大学学报(社

    ,2002 第 1 期。

94. 同 18. p.197.

95.96. 同 16. p133. 同 18. p.83, p.82, p.86, p.53.

101.102. 同 28. 29. 30. p.24.

103. 105 孟琳,詹晶辉:英语广告中双关语的运用技巧及翻译,

中国翻译,2001 第 5 期。

104.同 18. p.36.

105.同 103.

106.同 16. p.136.同 18. p.12, p.20, p.33, p.35。

111-同 18. p.79, p.120, pp.89-90.


实践,2000 年第 19 卷第 3 期。

117.PC DIRECT, Pentiums and Spreadsheets Buyer‘s Guides, Fast

CD-Rom Drives, Internet-Ready PCs, Plug and Play, November

1995, p.2)

118.ST. ANDREWS, 1996, SCOTLAND, P.9。

119.120. 同 18. pp.72-73, p.57。

121.同 1---6. p.115。

122-124.125.同 103。加页码!

126-130. 同 18. pp.113-115,p.119.

135. 同 103。加页码!

136---146. cited from the packings of products.


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