Amplify Decrease-Increase Alternates


My favourite current affairs show the other Newsnight, I was pleased to see a media analyst consciously speak how I am often on at salespeople to do.

It was as if Claire Enders was deliberately trying to avoid using the stale words increase or decrease.

Kudos to her for realising the uselessness of those tired terms, and the bigger impact of more evocative alternatives.

There was the audible stutter of pause just before either of these lazy words would normally have been uttered.

The first instance, she chose to rather say;


The second time;


It was then I spotted her plan. And she was off and running.

I first realised that these terms didn’t pack punch at the start of my career. (Six years ago I blogged touching on a McLaughlin Group memory via Obama).

Latin derived, the -crease hails from ‘grow’. The de- ‘down’, in- ‘into’.

A number of times I’ve ran a cheeky fifteen-minute internal get-together session. I based it on a classic creativity challenge (30 seconds to write four-letter words beginning with ‘c’ – there’s apparently 233 to go for).

Split the room in two.

One side takes “increase”, the other, “decrease”.

In half-a-minute, individually jot down as many synonyms as you can for your “-crease”.

Google’s own suggestions show just ten and eight respectively. Salespeople can surely beat that.

Find the winning tally. Even award a little prize. Then create a list from around the room. Make the point. Spread the word.

increase google

decrease google

By way of a topical (UK) example, I just surfed news networks at the top of the hour and found these headlines, spoken by three different anchors. Which most grabs your attention?

“child care costs increase by a third”

“child care costs have risen sharply”

“child care costs rocket”

Congrats to itv news…

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