I work as a proofreader
for a real estate magazine
. For between 15 and 20 hours a week I read advertisements written by Real Estate Agents and cringe at the mistakes that are made over and over again.
Here is a sample real estate advertisement:
COULD THIS BE THE ONE...
...is what you'll be asking yourself when you inspect this attractive 4 years young BV in pristine condition, comprising of 4 large genuine bdrms, master with FES, WIR, 2 spectacular bthrms, and a meticulous kept low maintenance garden close to shops, schools, and transport.
VENDOR SAYS SELL
Following are some of the problems most commonly evinced by Real Estate Agent
Real Estate Agents are congenitally unable to use the word "comprising" without immediately following it with the word "of".
The word "comprise" contains the meaning "of", as can be seen from this dictionary definition.
tr.v. Comprised, comprising, comprises
1. To consist of; be composed of
2. To include; contain
3. To compose; constitute
Real estate agents also vastly over-use abbreviations. The use of BV (rather than brick veneer) is sometimes understandable, particularly when the number of adjectives and adverbs in the advertisement is high. However, the use of bdrm and bthrm is inexcusable. The addition of 3 letters will almost never force the ad down a point in font size.
All these abbreviations do is make the advertisement look clumsy and badly planned.
Other abbreviations make the advertisement confusing. FES, WIR, PFB and OFP are all difficult to understand unless you speak Real Estate Language.
OVERUSE OF ADJECTIVES AND ADVERBS
Since word (and even letter) counts are of such great import to Real Estate Agents, it seems strange that they will constantly use such words as "meticulously" when "well" or "very well" would do the same job.
ADJECTIVES IN PLACE OF ADVERBS
Real Estate Agents, over and over again, use an adjective where they should use an adverb. The rule is:
An adjective describes a noun. Adjectives do not end with "ly"
An adverb describes a verb. Adverbs generally do end with "ly"
This rule is easy to remember, because an adverb adds meaning to a verb.
It is not possible to have a "meticulous kept" anything because "meticulous" can only be used to add meaning to a noun.
OVERUSE OF SUPERLATIVES AT THE EXPENSE OF ACCURACY
I sometimes wonder, as I correct the typing errors in the advertisements I read, whether any house is ever offered for sale without "huge" rooms, "luxurious" fittings or an "amazing" bathroom (or rumpus room, or dining room)
Surely it would be of more use to prospective buyers to know what size the bathroom actually is, and the brand of the taps, and the fact that the rumpus room has a glass wall that catches the sun between 4 and 6 in the winter.
And is it actually possible for any builder to contrive an unattractive cornice? From what I read all day I would say not.
BAD PUNCTUATION LEADING TO UNCLEARNESS
The heading of my advertisement illustrates a common punctuation mistake made by Real Estate Agents. The advertisement begins with a phrase that should be a quoted question, and yet there are no quotation marks, nor any question mark.
Lists with the components separated by commas are also problematic in the Real Estate world.
When a list is written, whether semicolons, bullet points, or commas separate its components, all the components refer to the same thing, usually found at the beginning or ending of the list.
Part of the actual meaning of the first sentence in the sample advertisement I have written above is that the master bedroom contains a full ensuite, a walk in wardrobe, 2 bathrooms, and a garden. And the garden, rather than the house, is what is described as being close to shops, schools, and transport.
And is it possible
PAINFULLY OBVIOUS STATEMENTS
"4 genuine bedrooms"
Oh good. I was sure they would actually be pretend bedrooms, so I'm glad you reassured me on that point...
"Vendor says sell"
No! Really? So That's why the vendor1 put this ad in this magazine! Amazing!
1. One who sells or vends
HOW I WISH IT WERE
"COULD THIS BE THE ONE?"...
...is what you'll be asking yourself when you inspect this property. Built only four years ago, this brick veneer house is five minutes' walk from Croydon Main Street and railway station, and is in great condition. The home includes 4 bedrooms (8'x8', 10'x7', 6'x8' and 12'x12'). The master bedroom has a full ensuite and a walk in wardrobe. There are two separate bathrooms, and the house is set in an attractive, low maintenance garden.
There... isn't that nicer