Yesterday at the office with my client, we noticed an ad for lakefront property in one of the real estate magazines. I can not remember the exact words, but it was something like this:
"Beautiful home situated on a natural, eutrophic, glacial mountain lake..."
My client said "I'm not sure but I think eutrophic means marshy, doesn't it?"
While I do consider my vocabulary to be pretty extensive, I did not really know what eutrophic meant. While I made a phone call to schedule an appointment for another property, our office administrator looked up the word to satisfy our curiosity:
Having waters rich in mineral and organic nutrients that promote a proliferation of plant life, especially algae, which reduces the dissolved oxygen content and often causes the extinction of other organisms. Used of a lake or pond.
My client said "Well, that doesn't really sound like a selling feature, does it?"
Uh, no. Here is a picture of a eutrophic pond:
Wanna jump in for a swim? Don't expect to catch any fish, cause they're dying off....
I really doubt that the listing agent meant to list eutrophic as a selling feature along with the words "beautiful" and "glacial mountain lake."
We wondered if it was an attempt at "truth in advertising" but I really doubt it...I don't think the lake is eutrophic at all....I suspect someone saw that word in a description of a lake and thought "Wow, I'll use that! What a great word! And I'll throw in glacial, and mountain, and the buyers won't be able to resist!"
Conversly, if the lake truly IS eutrophic, the ad writer may have seen it on a report about the lake...I still suspect he/she didn't understand what was being written.
Tip: Keep descriptions simple, and stick to words you actually understand.
Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Fred Hsu.