07 November 2011

Think different

From The New Yorker article The Tweaker:
The famous Apple “Think Different” campaign came from Jobs’s advertising team at TBWA\Chiat\Day. But it was Jobs who agonized over the slogan until it was right:
They debated the grammatical issue: If “different” was supposed to modify the verb “think,” it should be an adverb, as in “think differently.” But Jobs insisted that he wanted “different” to be used as a noun, as in “think victory” or “think beauty.” Also, it echoed colloquial use, as in “think big.” Jobs later explained, “We discussed whether it was correct before we ran it. It’s grammatical, if you think about what we’re trying to say. It’s not think the same, it’s think different. Think a little different, think a lot different, think different. ‘Think differently’ wouldn’t hit the meaning for me.”

Conclusions (for this blog): 1) English grammar offers both challenges and opportunities. 2) Sometimes grammar really is important. 3) Sometimes debate, thought, honing and re-honing can make all the difference. 4) All of these points apply, sometimes, to translating technical journalism and more specifically, a catchy heading or kicker (aka a standfirst or lead line in English or a 'chapĂ´' in French). 

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After completing a BSc in physics and maths in Australia and extended travels in Africa I found a job in Paris that left me with considerab...