I hate seeing the word aplenty in headlines.

At first I thought my reaction to seeing the word in a news headline was a matter of personal taste. Or perhaps prejudice. To me the word feels old-fashioned and pompous.

After a moment’s thought, I realised aplenty offends me because the word is an adjective masquerading as a verb.

The best, clearest writing mainly uses nouns and verbs. Only use adjectives when they make the meaning more precise.

Headlines are a concentrated form of writing crunching meaning into a handful of words.

There’s less room for adjectives in headlines than in everyday sentences. Good headlines use nouns and strong verbs.

A headline like ‘iPads aplenty’ doesn’t include a verb. The word aplenty plays a verb-like role but it doesn’t shout, sing or dance. It just sits there flaccid, weak and boring.

And it doesn’t convey much information other than to tell use there are lots of iPads.

So what? Why are there lots of iPads, where are there lots of iPads?

If you want to tell readers there are large numbers of iPads use a verb, preferably an active one:

iPads flood Auckland

If you think flood is overused try; choke, swamp or saturate, just don’t use aplenty.

2 thoughts on “Avoid ‘aplenty’ in headlines

  1. For some reason I feel it should only be used in a case such as Captain Cook arriving at an island and discovering it has abundant wildlife and water aplenty. Very old-fashioned, pleasantly poetic – and totally unsuited to headlines, agreed.

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