What is the point of pre-owned?

Proofreading_and_editing_blog_165Obviously this is a marketing phrase. Now I understand that using different language can influence both the listener and the speaker. We pick up on underlying themes suggested by the words used and draw our own conclusions.

Using nouns rather than a verb to describe likes & specialisms gives a more positive message. Studies have shown that the first in the following pairs of statements are more likely to impress the listener & make the speaker feel more confident about themselves:

• I am a historian.
• I like history.

• I am an artist.
• I’m interested in art.

We are all familiar with the positive language of estate agents, compact meaning small etc. Those of us who have studied anything about sales literature will know that there are certain expressions to avoid.

• Use may, not might.
• Use should, not if
• Use as much as, not up to.

For example the second of the statements below sounds more positive:

• Save up to 50%.
• Save as much as 50%.

Studies have shown we feel we are getting better value when we save up to…

So why is pre-owned a good alternative to second hand? Are we supposed to be pleased that someone else has prepared the way for us by using this book, car, or dining room table?

Ah yes, I have it. It is shorter.

Just don’t get me started on pre-loved.

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About The Proof Angel

I am a freelance editor and proofreader, working with a wide range of clients from large companies to individuals. I can help you to communicate clearly by carrying out a final check, or by suggesting ideas get your message over. I also have a sideline in textiles, as The Rainbow Angel.
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2 Responses to What is the point of pre-owned?

  1. The problem with words like pre-owned, pre-loved or second hand is that, to me, the implication is they weren’t precious enough to keep. None of these expressions really do it for me.

    • I suppose it is along the same lines as one man’s meat is another man’s poison. There isn’t any harm in one person seeing old fashioned junk & someone else seeing the same thing as retro or vintage. Either way, second hand does the trick, doesn’t it?

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