“Change” Is a Dangerous Word

An Associated Press article in today’s newspaper discusses a change in Diet Pepsi. Here’s the headline I saw this morning: “Diet Pepsi Quietly Changes Sweetener Ahead of Rebranding.”

What’s the most important word in that headline? Change. Anyone reading the article will certainly want to know what sweetener is being used now.

If you read the article (and you should: here’s the link), you’ll find that it takes 277 words for the article to tell you what the change is. OK, I’m not going to keep you in suspense. The aspartame in Diet Pepsi will now be mixed with an artificial sweetener called acesulfame potassium because it’s less sensitive to heat.

“Change” is a dangerous word. Over the years I’ve noticed again and again that writers who use the word change often postpone explaining the change. Sometimes they never get around to telling readers exactly what’s changed. Don’t make that mistake! When you’re writing about a change, explain it quickly and completely.




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