The Language Perfectionist: When You Seek a Venue

Consider the following sentences:

  • “Want close parking to the venue and priority exiting from the parking lots at the end of the event?”
  • “Imagine a venue capable of hosting everything from traditional weddings, Baroque chamber music recitals, and Shakespearian drama to modern dance….”
  • “Please take the Clean Concert Pledge by clicking on the link below, and let’s keep this venue and others clean for everyone to enjoy!”

Formerly, venue has always referred to the locality where a trial is held or the scene of a crime. Use of the word by event marketers (an online search turned up hundreds of examples like those above) is relatively recent.

This looser use of venue is somewhat pretentious — as if calling a catering hall or nightclub a venue will make it more impressive.

In most cases, a simpler word will suffice, such as location, place, point, scene, or spot.

Some years ago a lexicographer friend archly told me, “Your hotel room isn’t a venue. If a murder were committed there, it would be a venue.”

[Ed Note: For more than three decades, Don Hauptman was an award-winning independent direct-response copywriter and creative consultant. He is author of The Versatile Freelancer, an e-book that shows writers and other creative professionals how to diversify their careers into speaking, consulting, training, and critiquing.

Don Hauptman was an award-winning independent direct-response copywriter and creative consultant for more than 30 years. He may be best known for his headline “Speak Spanish [French, German, etc.] Like a Diplomat!” This familiar series of ads sold spectacular numbers of recorded foreign language lessons for Audio-Forum, generating revenues that total in the tens of millions of dollars. In the process, the ad achieved the status of an industry classic. Don’s work is mentioned in three major college advertising textbooks, and examples of his promotions are cited in the books Million Dollar Mailings (1992) and World's Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters (1996). In a column in Advertising Age, his name was included in a short list of direct-marketing “superstars.” He has a parallel career as a writer on language and wordplay. His celebration of spoonerisms, Cruel and Unusual Puns (Dell, 1991), received rave reviews and quickly went into a second printing. His second book was Acronymania (Dell, 1993). Recently, Don retired from full-time copywriting in order to focus on other interests, including his passion for “recreational linguistics.” He is at work on a new book in that genre. He is a regular contributor to the magazine Word Ways and writes “The Language Perfectionist,” a weekly column on grammar and usage, for Early to Rise. Don is author of The Versatile Freelancer,an e-book from American Writers and Artists, Inc. (AWAI) that shows copywriters – and almost anyone – how to diversify their careers into consulting, training, critiquing, and speaking.