Misc.: Alliteration

October 16, 2008: Issue 260

We’ve been accused lately of being anti-alliteration, and we’d like to set the record straight: We have nothing against it. We do, however, oppose empty words hiding behind repeated sounds. Take away the alliteration, and your hed, dek, or caption kicker still has to deliver a message.

An example we see frequently is “Style Statement.” Yes, it rolls off the tongue, but it means very little. It could apply to nearly every story, caption, and sidebar that has ever run in a home design magazine.

On the other hand, here are examples of alliterative heds that clearly tell the reader what she’s getting:

• “Garaging Your Gadgets” (Kitchen and Bath Ideas)

• “Pickets from the Past” (Country Gardens)

• “Fill Up on Fiber Facts” (Diabetic Living)

Alliteration is a lovely thing. It just can’t be the only thing.

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