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I Will Now Explain Something

November 16, 2010
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Copywritten is an adjective used to refer to text that a copywriter has worked on. For example:

“The copywriter stayed through her lunch hour to finish writing the copy that her alcoholic boss at the ad agency failed to complete. Due to her efficiency, the ad is now copywritten.”

Copyrighted is a slightly more contrived, yet more useful and more common adjective. It is used to refer to text that is subject to copyright. For example:

“Because the author wrote the cunt couplets in her own words, guided only by her imagination and a few too many shots of Sailor Jerry, she automatically owns the copyright to that poem. In other words, it is copyrighted material.”

Pace early Missy Elliott (“Copywritten lyrics, so / Don’t copy me”), unless you work in marketing or news reporting, you should probably not ever use the word “copywritten,” ever. No need. It’s barely even a word, and there are only a handful of circumstances in which it can be used legitimately. In fact, even if you do work in one of those professions, I have to assume that there are probably more articulate and grammar-friendly and less douchebaggy ways of expressing the idea that a copywriter has worked on something.

For everyone else in the world: “copyrighted” is almost certainly what you mean, so it might as well also be what you say. “All my poems are copywritten” is an incoherent ridiculous utterance. It should not be permitted to pass the barrier of your teeth.

What’s wrong with people these days? Words are more than happy to define and explain themselves if we let them. Have we become so moronic as a society that we can’t handle homonyms anymore? Like “write” and “right”? Remember that shit from grade five? Look how different those two words are. Augh! They’re not even the same part of speech!

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