Brochure: the language

My brother once asked me about something in an advertisement, and I translated it for him into plain English. I told him I’d been reading travel company catalogues and had thus had much experience with brochure, a closely related language. So here, for fun, are some brochure or other advertising phrases, and their actual meaning.

Some Conditions Apply = not precisely true.

asterisk, dagger, plus sign, any odd character = Some Conditions Apply.

as much as = definitely not more than

up to = as much as

more or less – when measuring real estate – = definitely less

about – when dating real estate – = definitely older

about – when estimating taxes – = definitely more than

all inclusive = exactly what’s listed in fine print is included, no more

plus taxes = you’d better look out, it costs more than this

best, most recommended, in fact most superlatives = it’s probably OK

recommended by doctors = they will prescribe it, but probably don’t use it themselves

combining the best of = we were not sure which to tout in our ad

all natural ingredients = our competitors make theirs in a cyclotron

no added preservatives = it could be in the packaging, read label

butylated hydroxytoxinlist = added preservatives

added preservatives = keeps longer; you may not need embalming

best before = not our fault if it rots immediately after

may contain = don’t sue us if you’re allergic to

best quality = same as all our products


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