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According to Quirk & Greenbaum (1990: 231), sentences may be divided into
four major syntactic types. Their use mostly corresponds with four different discourse
functions (Quirk & Greenbaum 1990):
Declaratives are sentences in which a subject is present and precedes the verb.
They are primarily associated with statements, defined later.
Interrogatives are typically associated with a discourse function of questions
that are used to seek information.
Imperatives are sentences that normally have no grammatical subject and
whose verb has the base form. Their discourse function is primarily a directive which
means that they a mostly used to instruct somebody to do something.
Exclamatives are sentences which have an initial phrase introduced by what,
how. They primarily express exclamations that show the extent to which the speaker is
impressed by something.

With regard to the sentence types mentioned, a slight distinction between quality
and price ads can be found mostly in the headlines again. I have already argued that
price ads mostly serve as a way of conveying information. From the linguistic point of
view, it is the statement that serves to convey information. A statement represents a
major sentence function and is mostly declarative in form. It is used to assert or report
information (Crystal 1992: 367).
Price ads take therefore mostly advantage of a declarative of which the most
typical discourse function is a statement, i.e. a declaration that something is or is not
the case:
Wallets, 199 a month wont leave you spent. (see Figure 16)
Bargain hunters, at just 99 per month, this one is a gem. (see Figure 17)
I have found just one command headline in price ads:
Play more. Pay less. (see Figure 21)

Quality ads include more varieties in their headlines, although declaratives
definitely prevail. Besides declaratives with the function of statements, imperatives
(commands) and interrogatives (questions) can be found slightly more frequently. The
examples will be seen bellow.

Headlines in the form of interrogatives

Questions can be divided into further subcategories. The basic distinction,
according to Quirk & Greenbaum (1990), is the following:
Yesno questions are those questions that expect affirmation or negation.
Wh-questions are those questions that expect a reply from an open range of
Alternative questions are those questions that expect as the reply one of two or
more options presented in the question. They do not appear in the material under
my investigation.
Question headlines, according to Bove (1992: 296), can be dangerous. The
author claims that when a question is asked the reader can answer quickly, or (even
worse) negatively, and the rest of the advertisements may not be read. A good question
should thus be provocative enough and support the readers curiosity and imagination.
Examples found in the headlines:
Yesno question: Ready for the attention? (see Figure 2)
Wh-questions: What would you go through? (see Figure 1)
Why pay price of a BMW and not own one? (see Figure 12)
The second example of whquestions can be labelled as an example of a
question approaching a rhetorical question. Rhetorical question is interrogative in
structure, but has the force of a strong assertion, as Quirk & Greenbaum state (1990:
240). The question from Figure 12 can be actually transformed into It is reasonable to
own a BMW when you pay this very price. Such interrogative therefore has rather a
function of a statement.
Moreover, the headline is even further supported in the body copy:
So before you make a decision, ask yourself, wouldnt you rather own a BMW?

The last clause of the above sentence has the form of a negative question
(interrogative). According to Greenbaum (1990), such negative questions are always
conductive and the speaker hopes for a positive response such as Surely, I would rather
own a BMW.
In my opinion, such a kind of questions is very provocative and perhaps even
more effective than a directive which can be considered too aggressive by some

Headlines in the form of imperatives, according to the Bove (1992: 296),

order us to do something and therefore might seem negative. Yet a lot of attention is
paid to such headlines by readers, according to the author.
All the following examples found in the headlines analyzed are directives
without a subject:
This year invest in precious metal. (see Figure 3)
Drive your way to the top. (see Figure 10)
Now use your heart and your head. (see Figure 13)
Enjoy the rush hour. (see Figure 14)

If I am to consider the whole advertisements, which means including the body

copies and accompanying information, declaratives with a function of statement prevail
in quality and balanced advertisements (see Graph 7 bellow). As for price
advertisements, there are only a few sentences which do not belong to the group of
block language structures (see Table 4 above). Therefore the whole amount of full
structures analyzed from the point of view of sentence types is very low (see Graph 8).

Graph 7 - The amount of s entence types
in quality and balanced ads
(block language s tructures excluded)





Graph 8 - The amount of sentence types in

price ads (block language structres excluded)




However, if I am to consider block language structures in price ads (excluded

from Graph 8 above), it can be noticed that many of them have a function of a
statement, no matter whether they include a verb or not.

Examples of block language structures with a function of a statement:

Offer ends 30th September 2004 (see Figure 20)
The all new Skoda Octavia is here now from only 10, 750 (see Figure 19)

999 deposit on fortwo coupe pure 50bhp

plus free insurance
winner of Auto Express Best City Car 2002 and 2003, commended in 2004
(see figure 16)

Merive Energy SE

159 per month

0% APR plus deposit
FlaxSpace rear seats

CD player Air con

(see Figure 18)

MG ZR + 105 3-door 149 per month

Plus deposit and optional final payment with MG Rover Finance

(see Figure 21)

All these block language structures are present in the advertisements in order to
convey information. Therefore the actual amount of all structures with a function of a
statement in price advertisements is definitely higher than is shown in Graph 8.

Several block language structures in quality advertisements also have a function

of a statement, although quality ads have fewer examples of block language structures
in general.

As for imperatives (see Graphs 7 and 8), many of them occur in the offers of
further information about a particular car. This concern all the groups of advertisements
- quality, balanced and price ads. The imperatives usually include the following verbs in
the imperative forms: call, visit, contact, etc.:
Call 0845 601 9955 or visit www.lexus.co.uk/readyformoreinformation.
(see Figure 2)
For more details call 0847 186 186 or visit www.rover.co.uk for your nearest
Dealer. (see Figure 15)
Moreover, it can be even argued whether such a sentence imperative in form
actually has a function of a directive or rather that of a statement.
Sentences like Call 123456 or Visit your Vauxhall retailer actually do not
strictly order anyone to do anything, they rather offer something, such as a possibility

how to get more information. The form of imperative can be easily transformed into the
form of a declarative, for instance with a modal verb:
You can call...
or: It is possible to call... We recommend you to visit...

Similar imperative structures, as has already been found out, often lack
punctuation and are rather considered as block language structures. Such examples
occur in both quality and price ads.
Block language structures with a function of a directive also occur in several
slogans and logos:
Think. Feel. Drive.(see Figures 7 and 8)
Open your mind (see Figures 16 and 17)

In agreement with my expectation based on Vestergaard & Schrder (1992), the

verb buy is hardly ever present in the imperative form of verbs and it is not even used in
other forms either. Going through all the advertisements, both quality and price ads, I
have found only one example of such strict and straightforward motivation to get action.
It can be found in the body copy of the New XKR Jaguar (see Figure 3). Its occurrence
in the ad can be explained by the fact that even its headline is very straightforward and
include the verb invest. Besides that, investment is described here openly as attractive
and it suggests one can actually feel good while investing money into such a good car.
Therefore the connection of the verb buy with the necessity of payment for the product
should not cause any problems here.

Exclamations are syntactically expressed by exclamatives. According to Quirk

& Greenbaum (1990: 244), exclamatives as a formal category of sentence are restricted
to the type of exclamatory utterance introduced by what or how. As the authors add,
the wh-word shows an important position on a certain scale of value and thus can only
appear where an expression of degree is possible:
what + noun, how + adjective, adverb, degree adverbial.

The wh-element is fronted and the following word bears the main emphasis.
Using structures that enable such emphasis, for instance, of adjectives which describe
qualities of an object (a car), could be perhaps expected in advertisements. A lot of
positively evaluative adjective could be stressed by exclamations: What a fantastic,
wonderful, amazing,...car!
Yet exclamatives practically do not occur in the material under my
investigation. They occur neither in the headlines, nor in the body copies. Such an
avoidance of exclamatives may root from what Bove (1992: 309) states and what will
also be mentioned in the chapter dealing with superlatives: trying to be specific means
to leave out various cliches amazing, wonderful. Such words would be likely to occur
in exclamatives if they were present.


Verdonk (2003: 35) states that the technical term for textual cues is deictics,
while the psycholinguistic phenomenon as a whole, which is fundamental to all spoken
and written discourse, is usually called deixis (from a Greek word which means
pointing or showing).
Let me focus on the deictics which refer the listener or reader to the people
taking part in the events of the discourse, such as advertising definitely is.
Verdonk (2003: 35) distinguishes three types of these deictics:
person deictics they include the first-person pronoun I (and its related forms me,
my, and mine) and the second person pronoun you (and its related forms your and
time deictics they include items such as now, then, today, yesterday, tomorrow, or
next Friday.
place deictics they include adverbs such as here (near the speaker), there (away
from the speaker); prepositional phrases like in front of, behind, to the left; the
determiners or pronouns this and these (near the speaker) and that and those (away
from the speaker), and the deictic verbs come and bring (in the direction to the
speaker), and go and take (in the direction away from the speaker).

Let me begin with the person deictics. The pronoun you and its related forms
(your, yours) are more typical with quality ads (see Table 5 and Graph 9 - 11).
This result is understandable. As has already been argued, there is a sort of
identification between the product and its owner in quality advertisements. You directly
addresses each reader, who (addressed so directly) can feel unique. At the same time the
car is also often presented as unique.:
What would you go through? (see Figure 1)
Take your courage in both hands... (see Figure 1)
Youll be flying on adrenalin. (see Figure 7)
On the other hand, such identification and use of deictic you is not so frequent
with price ads (see Table 5 and Graph 11 bellow) . Moreover, it can perhaps be

interesting to point out that in one case when you occurs in a price ad, it does not
address the reader (and potential buyer) as a person, yet it addresses the readers wallet:
Wallets, 199 a month wont leave you spent. (see Figure 16)
No identification with a personal uniqueness (or creating such a feeling in the
reader) is therefore possible in this ad.

As far as price ads are concerned, however, time deictics are slightly more
frequent in them. It is possible to mention relatively frequent occurrence of the adverb
now (see figures 19, 20). The use of the adverb now is definitely connected with the
limited availability, which is a frequent feature of ads focusing on advantageous price or
it suggests a kind of contrast between the price now and the price in the past.

Now use your heart and your head. (see Figure 13)
This Chrysler advertisement deserves its description as a balanced ad here, as it
includes both person and time deictics:

Peugeot 307 Zest has been advertised as a summer special offer and the deictic
which appears in this ad is today:
Call us today on 0845 200 1234 (see Figure 22)
The adverb today, similarly to now, tries to make the reader and potential buyer
act immediately or at least as soon as possible.

I have not practically found any time deictics in quality ads. One possible
example found can be used as a matter of distinction anyway. The headline of Jaguar,
New XKR (see Figure 3) looks like this:
This year invest in precious metal.
Comparing now (today) and this year, I conclude that Jaguar does not - and
perhaps does not need to make the potential customer hurry. The headline rather
suggests that more thinking is required as it is with any investment. And thinking of
investing a considerable amount of money definitely requires more time; it cannot
always be done now or today.


L e t2

C h xu
ry s I

your, yours
s le S2
M r

you, yourself
Ja 00
G gu 0
- ar
Z S au K
R o xh R
ve V l C

r 2 au or
5 xh
sa Peugeot 206

Sk ec Lexus IS2000

O Jaguar XKR

Graph 10 -
Su ct


balanced ads
ba av
ru ia Vauxhall Corsa

Su pr Vauxhall Vectra
ba a


You and its related forms in

L e Skoda Octavia
cy Subaru Impreza

S m 1

t. A

.. ud Subaru Legacy

S m T o Audi

a r yo

t. ta
.. Toyota

V a rs
ux ch
e Porsche

Graph 9 - You and its related forms in quality ads

ll B M BMW

S k Chrysler


price ads
o v Rover 25

Smart Roadster

M Smart fortwo coupe


P e Vauxhall

e. Skoda
Table 5 You and its related forms in quality and price ads


G raph 11 - You and its re late d forms in




Peugeot 307

Surprisingly, practically no superlative forms of adjectives are used in the

material analyzed. The advertisers seem to be very careful about their use. Superlatives
forms appear almost exclusively only when a mention of an award for a particular car is
part of an ad. In this case, however, the use of the superlative form is part of the name
of the award, though, rather than an intended plan of an adman:
Winner of Auto Express Best City Car 2002 & 2003 (see Figure 2)
As Bove (1992: 309 310) states, the traditional use of superlative forms is
perhaps over, because todays consumer is intelligent and educated. Generalizations are
not convincing any longer the consumer is looking predominantly for specific
information to form judgement and make purchase decisions. Being specific means
leaving out the advertising cliches like finest, greatest. Such overused expressions may
once have been exciting statements, but time has worn their value into rags, as this
author (1992) maintains.
A direct comparison between different brands is not even legal in all countries
and therefore it is often not possible. Such a comparison is likely to cause problems as
exact proofs could be required. In any case, according to Goddard (2003: 71),
advertisers do not tend to make such specific comparisons between their product and
others by referring to their rivals (X goes faster than Y). In linguistic terms, this
construction is called comparative reference.
However, comparatives do occur in the ads. Comparatives even seem to appear
slightly more frequently than superlatives. They can be perhaps considered as less
authoritative and generalizing.
A comparative reference sometimes is present, sometimes it is not. As for the
material analyzed, comparative reference is occasionally present but the examples
inevitably omit pointing towards a concrete brand:
other cars are less stable (see Figure 8)
It cruises in fewer revs than any of its peers. (see Figure 5)
It is consequently obvious that some of the comparative constructions do not
avoid at least an indirect comparison with other cars or its peers (see Figures 5, 8).

The other two advertisements leave out the comparative items while keeping in
the basis for comparison greatness of load-carrying capabilities or good appearance:
Never looked better taking you there. (see figure 14)
Youll enjoy greater load-carrying capabilities too. (see figure 15)
Here the comparison is rather intended to the car itself suggesting its
improvement when compared with its potential previous models. One of them signals
this by expanding the comparative form of adjective by the adverb never + past tense of
the verb look. Even with the second example which omits similar time reference, the
admen are likely to be absolutely positive that the readers themselves will guess the
missing ever before (Youll enjoy the load-carrying capabilities greater than ever
Especially with the latter advertisement (Youll enjoy greater load-carrying
capabilities too), however, it is always possible for the reader to supply in brackets than
all other contemporary rivals can offer, though. Such freedom of interpretation is yet
another advantage of these missing items.
As Goddard (2003: 72) maintains, readers are in general willing to make the
missing element a positive one and consequently it is enough for the advertisers to say
their product is simply better, faster. The same author (2003) also speaks about the
possible ambiguity of interpretation just mentioned, and says that by means of this
advertisers are perhaps trying to have their cake and eat it both interpretations are
pleasant and satisfactory for them.
Comparison can also be used when a product is claiming to reduce something in
favour of expanding something else. Based on my distinction between quality and price
ads, let me mention one example from my material. One headline from the group of
price ads says:
Play more. Pay less. (see Figure 21)
A contrast between more acceptable price and effectiveness of the car is
achieved. It suggests the possibility to enjoy the car without being worried about the
price too much.


Ellipsis is a grammatical omission. A part of a structure is in the case of ellipsis

omitted for reasons of economy, emphasis, or style. Typically, the omitted element can
be recovered from a scrutiny of the context (Crystal 1992: 117). Similarly, Quirk &
Greenbaum (1990: 255) say that if the term is to be applied strictly, ellipsis requires a
complete verbatim recoverability.
Quirk & Greenbaum (1990: 256) distinguish three categories of ellipsis
according to where the ellipsis occurs within the construction: initial, medial, and final
elements can be ellipted and the result is consequently initial, medial, and final ellipsis
To begin this topic, let me return to the previous chapter. Most of the
comparative constructions were elliptical:
It cruises in fewer revs than any of its peers (do) (see Figure 5)
They are less stable than Subaru (is) (see Figure 8)
As has been mentioned, strict ellipsis requires verbatim recoverability, which
means that when the missing words are inserted the meaning of the original sentence is
not changed. It is also important for strict ellipsis that the sentence should remain
grammatical (i.e. grammatically correct). Both requirements have been fulfilled in the
just mentioned examples.
The requirement of not changing the meaning of the original sentences is
perhaps a bit debatable in the comparative constructions which allow more
interpretations: Youll enjoy greater load-carrying capabilities too. (see Figure 15)
In general, it is situational ellipsis which prevails in the ads under my
investigation. Such ellipsis depends on knowledge of the extra-linguistic context and
typically takes the form of omission of subject and/or operator:
(It) Looks good and knows it. (see Figure 4)
(Are you) Ready for the attention? (see Figure 2)
(You will be) Ever excited by... (see Figure 7)
(It will be) Handy if the shopping spree gets out of hand. (see Figure 15)

According to Quirk & Greenbaum (1990: 256) similar cases are restricted to
familiar and generally spoken English. They are the ellipted words which normally have
weak stress and low pitch. Therefore it can be concluded that initial situational ellipsis
is one of the features that make the (car) advertisement closer to the conversational
nature of communication between the addresser and the addressee.

What is also typical of spoken language is grammatical intricacy and clusters

of clauses. A written sentence can also be divided into segments and thus several
semantic and focused items are achieved. Such a division can be called parcelation.
Parcelation is a division of a sentence in order to achieve more semantic and focused
units. It is often used when further details are added:
.... it has an ultra low drag co-efficient. And at 70 mph in top gear it cruises at fewer
revs than any of its peers. Which probably leaves you thinking one thing...(see Figure 5)
A potent balance of power and agility , whatever you or the road asks of it, the MG ZS
handles it. Beautifully. (see Figure 14)

One of the most visible features of spoken informal language in the

advertisements is the use of contractions:
Choosing the same car as everyone else neednt be one of them. (see Figure 6)
Let alone whats within. (see Figure 2)
Well, theres plenty to be admired (see Figure 2)

Many expressions used in the ads are to be labelled as rather informal

vocabulary, much of which is also mentioned in Chapter 6. 2 dealing with the
vocabulary connected with the aspects of gender: The writhing feeling in the pit of your
stomach (see Figure 1), youll be flying in adrenalin (see Figure 7), heart racing (see
Figure 14).
A contact with the addressee is rather informal and familiar (it must be stressed
that this is valid especially in quality ads). Most of such phrases involve previously
mentioned pronoun you:
You know what it feels like (see Figure 1)

So, before you make a decision, ask yourself, wouldnt you rather own a BMW?
(see Figure 12)
The words well and so which are written above in a bold type can also be
considered as features of spoken language.
As for ssseriously sssporty Peugeot 206 (see Figure 1), it has already been
mentioned - expansion of the letter s has been perhaps used in order to remind the
reader of a spoken language.


As Quirk & Greenbaum (1990: 397) maintain, there is usually a one-to-one

relation between given in contrast to new information on the one hand, and theme in
contrast to focus on the other hand. Theme is the name given to the initial part of any
structure when it is considered from an informational point of view.
According to the authors, the term theme is applied to the first element of a
clause, which is typically a subject. It usually has a status of given information and
therefore does not need any emphasis. Conversely, the term focus is applied most
typically to the item which occurs at the end of the information unit. The principle of
end-focus must be therefore mentioned. This term refers to an achievement of a linear
presentation from low to high information value. (Quirk & Greenbaum 1990: 395)
However, various exceptions to the rule are possible. Let me mention marked
theme, marked focus, cleft sentences, pseudo-cleft sentences, postponement, existential
sentences and also fronting.
Fronting, according to Quirk & Greenbaum (1990: 407 - 408) is often used in
journalistic writing in order to achieve emphasis. It seems to be present quite frequently
in the language of advertising, too. The term fronting is applied to the achievement of
marked theme by moving into initial position an item which is otherwise unusual there.
Then the initial element of a sentence is not a subject but, for instance, an object or
The fronted item can be the one contextually most important, such as the
prepositional phrase beginning with with:
With 3 years of servicing there is nothing to mar the joy. (see Figure 7)
Fronting can also be used to point to a contrast between the content of two
In the new symmetrical all-wheel drive Subaru Legacy 3.OR.Spec.B., the flat six-boxer
engine six-speed box and linear drive-train form one straight line in the middle of the
car giving a low centre of gravity for perfect poise and balance.
In other cars this isnt the case, they are less stable than Subaru. (see Figure 8)

In this case the contrast is supported by the presence of a calligram. The second
sentence includes a comparative reference dealt with in Chapter 7. By fronting the
prepositional phrases (in the new symmetrical Subaru/ in other cars) such a contrast
between Subaru and other cars becomes even more obvious.
It has been pointed out at the beginning of my work that emphatic word order is
often represented by a prepositional phrase beginning with for. Such a prepositional
phrase consists of a preposition for and a noun phrase. This noun phrase is sometimes
postmodified by a relative clause introduced by who. Thus a statement seems to aim at a
particular group of the audience, characterized somehow by the relative clause (For
those who wish, believe, value something). Yet according to Vestergaard & Schrder
(1992: 61), such a relative clause often refers to nearly all the potential readers of a
particular advertisement because generally accepted values are often expressed in it.
In the material analyzed just one example appears. In this very case it is the
whole prepositional phrase with a relative clause that is fronted:
For the person who has everything, a car that has everything. (see Figure 15)
The fronting of the phrase For the person who has everything helps to achieve
end-focus to fall on the most important part of the message (i.e. the car that has
everything) and at the same time provides a direct link with what has come before (i.e.
for the person who has everything). The whole second phrase can thus be considered as
the new information. This very phrase is probably the more important part of the
sentence, at least from the point of view of the advertiser. The advertiser may feel
satisfied if the reader identifies himself with the first phrase (i. e. a person who has
everything), yet it is mainly crucial for the advertiser to inform the reader about a car
that has everything. This information is new. A certain group of people who can view
themselves as having everything (an individual interpretation of the word everything
may perhaps differ) usually have similar opinion about themselves even before reading
the advertisement. From this point of view, such a label is nothing new for them.

An unmarked word order would be the following:

A car that has everything (is intended) for the person who has everything.

In the case of Figure 15 an equality between the car and the person has been
achieved; both of them are described as having everything.

In conclusion it can be said that fronting used in the advertisements serves either
to emphasize the very element fronted, or, on the contrary, to achieve the emphasis by
the principle of the end-focus.
In some cases it can perhaps be rather difficult to say whether it is the fronted
element which is to be emphasized or not:
And at 70mph in top gear it cruises at fewer revs than any of its peers.
(see Figure 5)
Fronting is also very frequent in the imperatives that inform about possibilities
of further information:
For more information call 0800 70 80 60 or visit jaguar.co.uk (see Figure 3)
Similar structures occur very frequently. What is fronted is a prepositional
phrase consisting of a preposition and a noun phrase. In my opinion, it is the rest of the
clause which is emphasized by the principle of end-focus in such cases.

In case the fronting involves a negative form or meaning, subject-operator

inversion is necessary: Never before has it looked so good! (see Figure 3).


Bove (1992: 308) points out that slogans often come into existence as
successful headlines. Due to its continuous use, a slogan begins to accompany the
product in order to reduce the main theme of a campaign into an easily memorable
expression. The word slogan itself comes from Gaelic term for battle cry.
Logos are special designs of the advertisers company name. They are put into
all company ads and help the product to achieve a sense of individuality and
It has already been stressed that most of the slogans and logos in the material
under my investigation are written in block language.
Cook (1992) distinguishes between slogans that he defines as phrases that come
and go with concrete lines of production and different campaigns, and slogos that are
defined as phrases attached to products on all their adverts, no matter what campaign
takes place.
If I am to follow this distinction in terminology, it is possible to name one
obvious example of a slogan attached just to a particular line:
Put fun back into driving Corsa (see Figure 4).
The statement is written in block language; punctuation is ignored. The very same
slogan cannot be found in Figure 5, which introduces a different product of the same
company, namely Vectra (see Figure 5).

On the other hand, a slogo appears in another block language structure

Drive of your life
This slogo is present in both Peugeot 206CC and Peugeot 307 (see Figures 1 and 22).
The word life included in the slogo is generally known to be one of the most widely
repeated words in advertising. Another example found in the material follows:
Life is too short not to (see Figures 14 and 21)

On the whole, slogans and logos (or in Cooks terms also slogos) are intended to
be easily remembered and as such they should perhaps make use either of innovative,

surprisingly new expressions, or diversely, of expressions that have been proved
successful and found to be working with the customers. The expression life seems to be
one of the latter group, which is so sharply criticized by Toscani (1992). He labels them
as cliches. Bove (1992: 310) says that even cliches can communicate, yet they erode
consumers confidence and they may even contribute to an out-of-date image.
In my opinion, slogans and logos of car advertisements tend to appeal partly to
emotions and partly to reason of a would-be owner. The key words in both groups are
1. Reasonability
Think. Feel. Drive (see Figures 7 and 8)
Simply clever (see Figure 6)
Smart. Open your mind. (see Figure 16 and 17)
2. Emotions
Think. Feel. Drive. (see Figures 7 and 8)
Born to perform (see Figure 3)
Put fun back into driving (see Figure 4)
A class of its own (see Figure 3)
Life is too short not to (see Figure 21)
In my opinion, the first group includes language that attacks addressees ability
to think over the car purchase so that the purchase can be reasonable. Such a language
appeals more to the intellectual potentials of a would-be owner. The vocabulary choice
is influenced by such a tendency.
The second group, on the other hand, rather appeals to the addresses emotions.
If (s)he buys the car, the car will perform well because it is simply born to perform and
also the owner is perhaps born to perform (well). A promise of fun may be attractive, as
well as the label a class of its own, which helps to persuade the addressee of the
products originality. Life is too short not to may be considered a complete contrary to
the first group which appeals to the addressees reason. Emotions are attacked here in an
extremely sensitive way because the advertisers try to make the audience enjoy life (by
driving a car) as long as they can.
Think. Feel. Drive. seems to include both intellectual and emotional aspects.

In conclusion, I would say that the language of slogans and logos from the
advertisements analyzed rather depend on the traditionally used language and does not
bring any obvious innovations of the language use. Most of the examples are written in
block language, some of them are besides elliptical (e.g. Life is too short not to).
Logos mostly include brand names and as such they often follow a principle
which Vestergaard & Schrder (1942: 46) mention; that means that they often appear in
the lower-right corner of the advertisement (see Figures 1, 2, 3, and 4).


One the basic criteria applied in the present work is the distinction between
advertisements focusing on high quality and those focusing on advantageous price. A
group of balanced ads has been found, too. I have tried to explain my basic reasons and
criteria for such a distinction. Yet it must be stated that any of the adverts concerned and
its classification into one of these three groups may be a subject to a discussion.
Nevertheless, I have concluded that certain linguistic and non-linguistic
differences between these groups are present. Price advertisements tend to be highly
informative. They do not inform only about the price itself although this very
information is usually the crucial and central one. The merely informative nature of
these advertisements is reflected in the way the language is used in them. The important
facts are emphasized which is achieved by strong reduction of structures. The great
majority of them are written in block language. Quality advertisements, on the other
hand, include both block language structures and to a great extent also full structures.
Several linguistic and nonlinguistic features have been analyzed with regard to
the distinction between focus on quality and focus on price. It must be stressed that
balanced ads have predominantly shared both linguistic and non-linguistic features with
quality adverts.
Price ads practically do not include metaphoric language. Metaphoric language
can provoke various associations and it is much more frequently present in quality ads.
It serves as a means of achievement of various pleasant feelings, usually appealing to
the addressees predictable priorities and life values. These priorities can be realistic,
yet they can be sometimes a subject of idealism and day-dreaming. Such priorities are
more detectable from quality ads. In my opinion, the language of quality advertisements
also tends to be slightly more ambiguous and can enable more interpretations all of
which, however, have the very same aim to stress the superiority of a product. Price
ads rely more on the literal use of language, which is also connected with their
predominantly informative nature. Repetitiveness is quite a typical feature of their
headlines and thus a piece of information is emphasized by the means of a quantitative

Similarly, price advertisements tend to use mostly declaratives (statements) and
they do not depend too much on other sentence types such as imperatives, interrogatives
and exclamatives. Again, this is probably connected with the fact that price
advertisements mostly simply inform that something is or is not the case (a definition
of a statement according to Crystal 1992). Quality advertisements make use of
interrogatives and imperatives slightly more often (mostly with their basic discourse
functions, i.e. questions and directives respectively).
As far as deixis is concerned, some differences between quality and price ads
have been also discovered. They are connected with two kinds of effort to attract the
consumer. Quality ads use rather a personal approach regarding the personality of the
addressee and thus they usually use a sort of slow manipulation (e.g. the use of
personal pronoun you). Price ads usually just point towards themselves, warn about
their time limitation and make the addressee hurry (e.g. the use of adverbial now)
As for the gender problem, it is not so visible in price ads either. It can be rather
traced in advertisements focusing on quality. As far as lexical items are concerned,
certain words in this group of advertisements are to be connected with men - their life
and also speech. Yet if it is focused on several rather generalized ideas that in my
opinion accompany the adverts, it can be argued that many women can be the
addressees of these ads easily, too.
The language present in the ads in my opinion cannot be described as sexist. For
example, there appear no verifying adjectives to stress the qualities of cars that would
be likely present there in order to evoke the womans beauty and thus make these two
objects of mens desire (a car and a woman) practically equal. Hardly any woman
actually appears in the advertisements as a narrator. This may perhaps be caused by the
fact that even the readership of the newspapers concerned involve in average both men
and women to the same extent. Generally, if a female narrator is present in an ad aimed
at men, the narrator is likely to be portrayed as a sexual symbol. And generally, if a
female narrator occurs in an ad aimed rather at an (average) woman, then the narrator is
more likely to be portrayed as a symbol of family closeness and warmth. As it rather
difficult to combine these two approaches, it is perhaps easier to omit both of them and
use a rather neutral narrative voice.

Several words have been found that can be considered as cliches and that are
repeated in advertisements to the great extent. Many of them (life, quality) are present in
the slogans and logos of the car advertisements.
What is valid for both quality and price ads is the lack of superlatives. They are
not used to such an extent as they are generally considered to be present in the
The language used in all the advertisements (see Figures 1 22) is rather
informal, for example contractions are used widely. Especially quality advertisements
often include a language evoking a real, though one-sided, dialogue between an
addresser and an addressee. This is achieved for instance by the use of interrogatives,
and the personal pronoun you, as mentioned above. The written form of a language is
occasionally changed in order to evoke a dramatic spoken utterance.
In agreement with the features of journalistic style, long sentences are often
avoided. In price advertisements long sentences are avoided due to the use of block
language structures. In quality ads many sentences are divided into clusters of clauses
that seem to evoke a spoken utterance. However, quality and balanced advertisements,
occasionally do contain rather long structures.
On the whole, the hypothesis has been confirmed to a great extent.
The language used in advertisement does not include any taboo words and ideas.
But at the same no special innovations seem to occur either. Neither verbal nor visual
messages of the ads are likely to offend anybody. However, only a little group of
advertisements has been dealt with. It would be impossible to conclude that advertising
in general has become an unproblematic entity acceptable for everyone.
Moreover, as Vestergaard & Schrder (1992: 174) claim, we may propose
various restrictions on the visual and verbal parts of adverts separately, and still not be
certain to achieve our objective of avoiding the individualized collective deceit of
advertising. With or without reforms and restrictions, advertising remains a commercial
institution whose ideological message reach far beyond a mere commercial impact,
always ready to offer a neat solution for the man who wants to live at peace with his
weaknesses, helping him to substantiate even the most elaborate deceit.


The main intention of the work was to analyze the language of the car
advertisements published in British newspapers and magazines. The key themes were
the focus of the advertisements to either quality or price of the car and the influence of
this focus on the linguistic and non-linguistic features of advertisements.
Further goals were connected with the role of car advertising as a link between
reality and idealism. Specific attention was given to the gender problem in these press
advertisements. The promotion of cars has generally been considered as probably the
most typical example of sexism in language. It was my intention to focus on the
truthfulness of such an accusation as far as the several advertisements under my
investigation, presented in 2004 in British newspapers and magazines, are concerned.


Pedmtem tto prce byla analza jazyka automobilovch reklam,

publikovanch v britskch novinch a asopisech. Hlavnm zmrem bylo zjistit, zda je
konkrtn reklama spe zamena na cenu i na kvalitu auta a jak toto zamen
ovlivuje jazykov i nejazykov prvky v reklam.
Dal cle souvisely s automobilovou reklamou jako prostednkem mezi realitou
a idealismem. Zvltn pozornost byla dle vnovna problematice genderu.
Automobilov reklama je veobecn povaovna za velmi typick pklad sexismu
v jazyce. Mm zmrem tedy bylo zamit se na pravdivost obdobnch tvrzen,
pedevm tedy z hlediska reklam, kter jsou soust m analzy, a kter byly
uveejnny v britskch novinch a asopisech v roce 2004.


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