The Joy of a Good Verb

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 at 9:50 AM | Category: Language, Meryl's Notes Blog, Writing 5 comments

Welcome to meryl’s notes blog (this here place you’re lookin’ at) in Plano, Texas. We’re honored to be a stop in Pesi Dinnerstein’s WOW! Women On Writing Blog tour. We’re giving away a copy of A Cluttered Life: Searching for God, Serenity, and My Missing Keys! [affiliate] Read on to see how you can win.

Pesi DinnersteinAbout Pesi Dinnerstein: Pesi Dinnerstein (a.k.a. Paulette Plonchak) has written selections for the best-selling series Small Miracles, by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal, and has contributed to several textbooks and an anthology of short stories. Dinnerstein recently retired as a full-time faculty member of the City University of New York, where she taught language skills for close to thirty years.

She has been an aspiring author and self-acknowledged clutterer for many years, and has spent the better part of her life trying to get organized and out from under. Despite heroic efforts, she has not yet succeeded; but she continues to push onward, and hopes that her journey will inspire others to keep trying as well.

The Joy of a Good Verb by Pesi Dinnerstein

I’ve never liked verbs very much.  Adjectives have always been more my speed.  How things look and feel and smell are generally more interesting to me than what they do.  Whether someone sips or swigs or guzzles their coffee concerns me less than the fact that it’s steaming hot, creamy beige and mocha-flavored with a hint of vanilla.

Most of the verbs that are part of my daily life are not particularly exciting.  I drive from here to there; I return a phone call; I lose my keys — I find my keys — I lose my keys again; I unload the dishwasher — I reload the dishwasher; I water my garden; I steam my vegetables; I try to remember to breathe.  It’s all necessary, but pretty boring.

I would certainly rather spend my time in the presence of a flaming orange sunset or an iridescent ocean wave.  Hanging out with an adjective is so much more satisfying.

However, a few years ago, something shifted.  As I was writing A Cluttered Life and thinking about all the things that make my life unmanageable, I couldn’t help but notice that my world was becoming more and more crowded with adjectives and the objects to which they were attached.

Then, one day, an old friend came to visit.  She had never seen my house in quite the state it was in at that moment, and her eyes opened wide as she stepped through the front door.

“This place feels very . . . stuck,” she said, expressing many layers of meaning in  that one well-chosen word — which, interestingly enough, just happened to be an adjective.

She was absolutely right.  My home was stuck; my things were stuck; and I was feeling increasingly stuck myself.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that what I needed were a few dynamic verbs to help me break through my own inertia.  The ones I was currently engaged with — observing, reflecting, writing — were not creating much movement in my life.  The situation clearly called for action.  Organize; fold; file; recycle; throw out — do something!  I immediately put the book aside.  It was obviously time to stop describing my mess and start dealing with it.

And, then, a strange thing happened.  When I returned to the manuscript, I found myself dissatisfied with many of the chapters that had seemed perfectly fine to me before.  Now, they felt stuck as well.

So, I began to delete adjectives and add verbs.  It was painful at first, but, before long, light and air seemed to flow into my sentences — and I could feel the manuscript beginning to breathe.

But change is not easy to hold on to.  Although I’ve come to appreciate the value of a good verb — in my life as well as in my writing — I continue to prefer the comfort of a friendly adjective.

And when I take my morning walk tomorrow, I probably still won’t notice the running and skating and bicycling going on because, once again, I’ll be too busy enjoying the beautiful, brightly colored, deliciously fragrant world around me.

A Cluttered LifeAbout Dinnerstein’s Book: Insightful, unsettling, and wildly funny, A Cluttered Life: Searching for God, Serenity, and My Missing Keys (Seal Press) is the story of Pesi Dinnerstein’s quest to create a simple and orderly life—only to discover that simplicity is not so simple and what constitutes clutter is not always perfectly clear. When a chance encounter with an old acquaintance reveals the extent to which disorder has crept into every corner of her existence, Pesi determines to free herself, once and for all, of the excess baggage she carries with her. Along the way—with the help of devoted friends, a twelve-step recovery program, and a bit of Kabbalistic wisdom—her battle with chaos is transformed into an unexpected journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening.

Comment and win: The prize: winner gets a copy of A Cluttered Life: Searching for God, Serenity, and My Missing Keys!. For a chance to win, please leave a comment about clutter, getting organized, changing your vocabulary or whatever comes to mind after reading this post (other than you wanna win!). You have until 11:59pm on January 31, 2012 to qualify for the drawing. The unbiased and robotic has the honor of picking the winner.


30+ Naming and Branding Resources

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 at 11:35 AM | Category: Business, Language, Links, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog 4 comments

In her Name Tales newsletter, Marcia Yudkin shares a disheartening Las Vegas Sun article about what happens to a company that chooses a name that resembles another company’s name. The story shows that anything can happen with a company’s name that even if the company does nothing wrong. The safest thing to do is not fall in love with one name or brand, but to have a few options and then research to see if anything comes close.Names Twooooooooooo.0

These resources help you with your naming and branding effort with a couple of what not to dos.


  1. 5 Obvious Rules for Naming Your Product (That We Wish We’d Followed)
  2. 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Naming Your Business
  3. 10 Tips for Naming Your Company, Product or Service
  4. 11 Ways to Play the Name Game
  5. 50 Worst Company Names (Requires registration)
  6. The Basics of Branding
  7. The Best (and Worst) Business Names
  8. Branding Dilemma: When to Use Your Own Name
  9. Business Name and Tagline Generator
  10. How they named companies – fact or fiction?
  11. How to Create a Great Business Name
  12. How to Create Company Names
  13. How to Name Your Business
  14. Hunt is on for world’s worst rebranding
  15. Microsoft’s Zune Raises Ruckus in Hebrew — the reason you should verify your brand name in another language before selling it in other countries. Chevy Nova (no go) wouldn’t go over well in Spanish-speaking countries.
  16. Put Your Business Name to the Test
  17. Tech’s Product Name Guru: Meet the man who coined BlackBerry, Azure and More
  18. Think Search Before You Name Your Next Product
  19. Wikipedia company name etymologies


  1. Brainstorming domain names.
  2. Brand Name Generator
  3. Building the Perfect Beast: The Igor Naming Guide to Creating Product and Company Name
  4. CatchWord Naming Blog
  5. Community Mottos and Nicknames. City names can provide inspiration.
  6. The Funny Name Server
  7. Latin dictionary
  8. Name Tales
  9. POP! Stand out in Any Crowd book.
  10. Free Tools and Sites for Writers: Check the resources section for references.
  11. Snark Hunting: The Naming and Branding Blog
  12. US Patent and Trademark Office
  13. Web 2.0 Name Generator
  14. Writer’s Digest Flip Dictionary book
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Howdy from Boston

Thursday, August 26th, 2010 at 2:22 PM | Category: Business, Language, Links, Meryl's Notes Blog, Social Media, Tech No comments

Boston in Red

Travel. Love it. Hate it. I dream of going to London, Paris, Greece, Italy and other places. But then I think about all the work it takes to do overseas travel and the desire goes away… for a little while. Maybe it will be easier to do overseas travel when my life calms down — after the kids are grown. So I’m in no hurry.

Going nine years without going someplace new is a bit much. (The last few trips have been to … Austin… Austin… San Antonio slash Austin… Not a big deal when you live in Texas and they were all for events, conferences and even a volleyball tournament.) It’s not that I put off travel for when a better time comes. Life worked out that way.

I do the best I can to enjoy the moment and appreciate my life every day of every year. Working in a home office makes that possible. Some days — rainy or freezing days for one — I don’t care to walk my dog. Other days I appreciate that I can do this activity and it forces me to take a break from the computer that I might not take except to exercise.

Early this year, I got an invitation to a family event in Savannah, Georgia. Well, hey, I haven’t been to Savannah (I’ve been to Atlanta) and I love these cousins. We tried to go, but the unreasonable airfare didn’t work for us. It turned out to be a good thing because I received a surprise award that same weekend.

Another invitation arrived for a family event in Nashua, NH. The cousins are not just family, but dear friends. At one point, we lived within 30 minutes of each other and got together a few times. I’ve been to Nashua, so the location didn’t excite me. After researching, I find out the best airfare meant flying into Boston and making a road trip to Nashua instead of flying straight to NH.

Boston. I’ve never been there. When I lived in Washington, DC, I managed to visit Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York. Never made it to Massachusetts.


Since I have to fly to Boston, why not go a couple of days earlier and take a mini-vacation in Boston? That’s exactly what I’m doing. I did my research and managed to get a place in the North End near a lot of the action including the Freedom Trail. So I hope to squeeze it all in two days. It may be short, but it’ll be powerful to discover a spot in the U.S. that I’ve never visited and one with a rich history.

By the time this post goes live that I’ve had a grand time in Boston and I’ll be on my way to Nashua, NH. I hope I have lots to great stuff to report in the next link post. In the meantime, I hope you had a great week and you enjoy the little moments. Despite the hectic week before my trip, I took a breath and did my marching band routine to celebrate back to school week!

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Lessons from Language Barriers

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 at 9:16 AM | Category: Language, Life Tips, Meryl's Notes Blog 2 comments
A man of many language symbols
Image by eyesplash Mikul via Flickr

I’d love to read more stories like these two. They provide valuable insight in human nature, perception and more.

The Executive and the Branch Manager

The first lesson is in perception. I caught this nugget in a New York Times article [Link: Jack Scharff]. It’s a valuable lesson involving a language barrier that applies to people with hard-of-hearing or deafness. I’ve run into this many times in my life.

The interviewee asked Robert W. Selander, retiring chief executive of Mastercard, “What are the most important leadership lessons you have learned?

Brazil is a big country. I was living in Rio and it’s like living in Miami. I was out visiting a branch in the equivalent of Denver. Not everybody spoke great English and I hadn’t gotten very far in Portuguese. As I was sitting there trying to discern and understand what this branch manager was saying to me, and he was struggling with his English, the coin sort of dropped that this guy really knows what he’s talking about. He’s having a hard time getting it out.

As I thought about the places I’d been on that trip, I realized this was probably the best branch manager I’d seen, but it would have been very easy for me to think he wasn’t, because he couldn’t communicate as well as some of the others who were fluent in English.

I think that was an important lesson. It is too easy to let the person with great presentation or language skills buffalo you into thinking that they are better or more knowledgeable than someone else who might not necessarily have that particular set of skills.

I can’t tell you how many times I open my mouth and see the expression on someone’s face change when hearing something different about my voice. If I should ask someone to repeat, I’ll get a similar reaction to the one Selander described. Is it any wonder I love interacting online and social media? It filters out my accent and voice leaving the “language” barrier behind. This allows me to express myself and thoughts without any interference.

The Friend and a Family

The second lesson is in energy. A friend went to a foreign country and had dinner with a family. The family, of course, spoke in their native language. My friend only knew a touch of their language and struggled to follow the conversation. She shared this story and told me how exhausted she was after the conversation. Little did she know she taught me a lesson that I hadn’t learned in over 30 years.

I thought I wasn’t a high energy person by nature. This has nothing to do with enthusiasm, but everything to do with being able to go, go, go — which I can’t, can’t, can’t. I’ll go, go, go when I need to. However, I try to avoid it.

Listening to my friend’s story helped me realize exactly why I don’t have a lot of energy and why I collapse after just one day at a conference. Even though English is my native language, I have to work harder than the average person with hearing to “translate” everything from lips to words. Not everyone’s lips are easy to read, thus my eyes and brain go in overdrive. (It’s true that lipreaders only catch one-third of what the speaker says. Imagine reading every third word in this post.)

While this second lesson won’t affect many of you — it offers unusual insight into my life as a person who is deaf. Maybe you’ll get a different lesson out of this story.

What lessons have you learned from foreign travels or talking with people whose native language isn’t yours?

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Watch Your English Style for Web Content

Thursday, January 15th, 2009 at 11:56 AM | Category: Business, Language, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech, Writing 1 comment

as_time_goes_byI’m hooked on As Time Goes By, a British TV show starring the Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer. I’m also getting into British-based Prime Suspect with Helen Mirrin.

Not only do I enjoy the repartee between Dench and Palmer, but also hearing the British accents. While I may not have good hearing, I can see and recognize the differences between British and American English.

I watch these shows with closed-captions or English subtitles. An interesting thing to note is that the captions use the American English spelling rather than British. For example, if a character says “color,” the captions also says “color” rather than “colour.”

Now why would a British TV show use American spelling? Because the DVD, a BBC America production, targets the American audience. This confirms Jakob Nielsen’s belief that web content need to use the correct variant of English and stick with it throughout the web site.

I love learning the differences in our languages including sounds, terms (football instead of soccer; Earth instead of dirt; loo instead of bathroom), and slang.

What amazes me is the shows make many American references. As an American, I might notice this more. However, I don’t think I’ve seen references to other countries and their cultures except in reference to an event such as Palmer’s character’s time spent in Korea.

Back to English and content. As much as I love the British culture and language (UK is one of the first places I want to travel whenever I get to the other side of the world), I use American English on this web site.

After all, most readers and clients hail from the US plus it’s where I live. Now, if I had an audience of 75% from the UK, then it could be a different story. However, it wouldn’t be a straight-out easy answer of using British English.

As much as I have picked up British slang, concepts, and terms, I will probably make mistakes. So is it better to stick with what I know best and stay consistent, or take a risk to devote thhe site  to British English and make a bad impression when I make honest mistakes?

Experts says to “speak in the audience’s language.” But does US and UK variation English count? In either case, we’re speaking English. For credibility’s sake, I’d probably need to stick with American English.

One of the more important rules regarding web content is “consistency.” That means deciding whether you use American English or Queen’s English, web site or website, Internet or internet.

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OMG! President-Elect Speaks in Complete Sentences

Monday, November 24th, 2008 at 11:55 AM | Category: Language, Links, Meryl's Notes Blog 3 comments

Here is the article in its entirety as I’m running around trying to get stuff done before hand surgery and Thanksgiving. Grammar geeks rejoice. Shouldn’t we be happy he actually speaks English?

Obama’s Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy: Stunning Break with Last Eight Years by Andy Borowitz

In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama’s appearance on CBS’ “Sixty Minutes” on Sunday witnessed the president-elect’s unorthodox verbal tic, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.

But Mr. Obama’s decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, some Americans might find it “alienating” to have a President who speaks English as if it were his first language.

“Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement,” says Mr. Logsdon. “If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist.”

The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find itself saying, “Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate – we get it, stop showing off.”

The President-elect’s stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.

“Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can’t really do there, I think needing to do that isn’t tapping into what Americans are needing also,” she said.

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Hey! What Does Your Business Do?

Monday, November 10th, 2008 at 9:33 AM | Category: Business, Customer Service, Language, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech, Writing 3 comments

Ever receive a link to a business web site where you can’t figure out what the company does? The home page sounds like something from the company’s fancy and non-sensical mission statement. Unfortunately, many companies rely on content from their business plan and other internal documents.

I had a brief client who did this. The filler content came from the business plan. So what the company did wasn’t instantly obvious to the target audience. So I massaged the content, webified it, and shared a draft with the client.

She preferred the business plan. I couldn’t believe it. But then, she knew her business well and it would make sense to her.

I explained the approach I took and the reasons for them. It didn’t convince the company, so we agreed to part. Reflecting on the project, it was good that it didn’t work out. We weren’t compatible and it would’ve been a miserable project. Easier to get out earlier rather than later.

Different Businesses, Different Needs

A business web site should quickly communicate what it does. It largely depends on the company’s business. If it sells products, can you tell what kind of products? Is it a secure site? Reputable? I’ve seen too many commerce sites with no names or company details on their about page. This screams the site isn’t credible or trust-worthy.

Professional service businesses need to communicate what services they provide and include names and bios as people matter in this case. These sites should list companies and industries they’ve served. Testimonials are also powerful.

Designers do well in including a portfolio of their work on their web site.

At the end of every project, try to obtain testimonials and permission to publish information about the project (such as posting the design for a portfolio and publishing case studies). Better to do it as soon as the project ends while it’s fresh in everyone’s mind.

An Example…

IBM is huge and does many things. Its home page doesn’t begin to tell the company’s story. About the only valuable information is “Migrate to a mainframe.”

“What does a smarter planet look like?” implies the company supports more efficient technology — but it’s still a broad question and it doesn’t give me an idea of what IBM’s involvement is with a smarter planet. Click it and it provides jibber jabber about what people want to do.

The first couple of paragraphs are the only problem. The rest does a good job of showing a bulleted list of problems, the solution, and what IBM can do.

“IT managers, are you building or blocking transformation?” Click it and the page tells a different story that doesn’t quite connect to the headline.

Should you insult the manager? Or is it touching a nerve that managers will want to click the question? People will argue for and against this. Besides, the picture takes up too much of the page pushing down important content.

At the bottom of IBM’s home page is “What IBM can do for …” and lists different industries and careers to help the person go in the right direction. Smart move — maybe it should be more dominant on the home page? IBM does have a wide audience and this solution works in helping them along.

I like the home page image and the moving cars. It still takes up a lot of above the fold (area before scrolling) space — a problem with many sites today. It takes effort to find the heart of the content.

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Poetry Writing with Children

Saturday, November 1st, 2008 at 7:41 AM | Category: Language, Meryl's Notes Blog, Writing 1 comment

I enjoyed reading Great Writing from a Small Child. When I read the post, my 5-year-old had written a poem. The requirements were the poem had to be about you and the end of every line must rhyme with dog. Can you believe not many words qualify? His poem:

I have a dog.
I like to sing about a frog.
In P.E., I sometimes jog.
I never go out in the fog.

The second line is too true. He sings the “Life Cycle of a Frog” many times in a week since learning that in pre-school. I had fun helping him with this. I wish homework with all the kids would be this enjoyable.

We started by coming up with words that rhymed with dog. He went through the whole alphabet. We added frog.

Next, he came up with the first line easily. I told him to pick one of the words and try to make a sentence out of it about him. If the “og” word didn’t come at the end, I talked it out with him to rearrange the sentence until it did.

I loved writing poetry when I was a kid. The only time I do it as an adult is for someone’s birthday or a special occasion. I did one for my husband’s 30th and 40th birthdays.

How I wish I had those poems I wrote. I save my kids’ poems. They don’t do one often. Last year in third grade, my son’s class did poems where the first word or two had to begin with specific works:

I am…

I wonder…

I hear…

I see…

I want…

I am…

I thought that was a wonderful idea. He wrote an amazing poem. This from a kid who hated reading and writing — so it surprised me. It was that good.

Maybe we adults should try the above and see what we get.

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11 Ways to Play the Name Game

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 at 7:47 AM | Category: Business, Customer Service, Language, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog, Writing 3 comments

Call me goofy, but I loved singing “The Name Game” as kid:

Meryl, Meryl, bo-beryl,
Banana-fana fo-feryl

Yeah, yeah… I know how some immature kids like to use names like Chuck and Mitch. I’m sure you’ve heard your share.

I’ve always been fascinated with names, how they came to be, and their origins. So it’s no surprise that I do naming projects. Coming up with names can become a brain consuming process. By that, I mean your brain goes on a roll and just keeps spitting out names, words, and ideas — good and not so good.

You have many options and resources to play the name game to find a perfect brand for a product, company, blog.

  1. Make best friends with reference resources: Dictionaries (rhyming and specialty), thesauri, Flip Dictionary, word references, anagrams, etc.
  2. Ask clients about themes. Some clients may already have a theme going or planning on one to help with branding.
  3. Ask clients about their interests and favorite things.
  4. Ask clients what names they like and dislike.
  5. Use interests, themes, etc. and research them until you’re dizzy.
  6. Make an initial list.
  7. Mix and match words.
  8. Create variations of words and phrases.
  9. Subscribe to Marcia Yudkin’s Name Tales newsletter.
  10. Have POP! Stand out in Any Crowd nearby for use.
  11. Use a domain naming tool. I’ve heard how some of these tools use your search to grab domain names. But not all do that. Unbelievable. Blog entry: Brainstorming domain names.

Sometimes I go crazy in the process and my head won’t stop seeking names and playing with them. I’d be playing with my kids, hitting tennis balls, chauffeuring and my head would as play jigsaw puzzle with words and names. If something good comes to me, I quickly capture it in my TitaniumBerry (it ain’t black) so I’ll have it when I return to my desk.

So if I like names so much, why am I stuck with plain ol’ For the same reason web designers struggles to design their own web sites. Besides, I might as well as capitalize on my uncommon name and put a positive spin on it after has given me fits for years (I struggle with the “r” so I tell people “Meryl like Meryl Streep, two-syllables-not-one and rhymes with Cheryl.”

Oh, great… I have an old team song going in my head…

“Meryl’s my name and basketball’s my game. Blue is my color and …” I’ll stop there. Oh, now I have a Sesame Street song in my head… “We All Sing with the Same Voice.”

My hair is black and red
My hair is yellow
My eyes are brown and green and blue

My name is Jack and Fred
My name’s Amanda Sue
I’m called Kareem Abdul
My name is you

I live in southern France
I’m from a Texas ranch
I come from Mecca and Peru
I live across the street
In the mountains, on a beach
I come from everywhere
And my name is you

Stopping now before my brain becomes a jumble of names, words, and songs.

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Numbers as Brand Names

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008 at 6:41 AM | Category: Business, Language, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog 5 comments

TechCrunch reports that Microsoft calls its next operating system (the one after Vista) Windows 7. Mickey comments:

I’d love to see them start using logical numbers again, but it doesn’t add up:

Windows 3.1 (“Windows 3”)
Windows 95 (4)
Windows 98 (5)
Windows ME/2000 (6)
Windows XP (7)
Windows Vista (8)
Windows 7 (9?)

I guess maybe if you call Windows 3.1 “Windows 1” (since that was the first one that was any good), then it increments to the next version being 7.

This makes me wonder if Microsoft was influenced by Seinfeld’s George’s liking of “Seven” as a name for a kid. Hey, Jerry was in the commercials… so the connection could be there.

Numbers work most of the time in the software business, but not for many others. If Microsoft sticks with Windows 7 and proceeds to follow it with 8, 9, 9.5 (Photoshop 5.5 was a biggie) then it should work out fine as it has for Explorer 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Look at Firefox — 1.x, 2.0, 3.0. Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. But then Apple had to go and confuse us with Mac OS X Leopard (it’s Mac OS 10.5).

But for other industries, number names get lost especially in the automobile industry. I’m trying to come up with a couple of examples of cars using numbers (other than what I drive — guilty of a “letters and number” name with no words) and they’re not coming to me or I am not sure if I remember right (“Is it 30 or 31? Audi or Infiniti? Or maybe Lexus.”).

Yet, I can identify an Expedition and Suburbans and can tell you who makes each one (Ford and Chevy in that order). So is a GLX better than an LX because it has an extra letter? But what if it’s an SL? Which one is better? LX or SL? Some cars use names like Sport, Touring, Grand Touring. So is Sport the fully-loaded one or Grand Touring?

Good thing we couldn’t have had a V9 or V12. How would we distinguish those from a V8 other than they might contain more vegetables? Good thing the company stuck with V8 and expanded its product line around that name.

I’ve always thought telephone companies with initials just didn’t sound as powerful as those with a word or two in their names (MCI Worldcom does not count). Verizon and Cingular smartly dumped their initialized company names for memorable ones. Of course, Cingular went away with the merger and returned to initials.

Tried to find other articles on the topic, but with keywords like brand, number, names… not an easy task. Did find one good one: Counting on Your Brand’s Name.

What do you think of brand names with numbers and letters? Sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t? Doesn’t work without at least one identifier (like Windows or Explorer)?

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