Exceptional Copywriting

I was taking a look at the Information Commissioner’s Office blog earlier (as you do). The Sept 3rd post ‘What is Exceptional?’ by Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham made for an interesting read – an exploration of the word exceptional as deployed by the Attorney General in overruling an ICO decision ordering the release of minutes of a Cabinet meeting in 2003.

To quote the Information Commissioner’s Report to Parliament: “The Attorney General concluded, in accordance with the Government Statement of Policy on the use of the veto, that this was an ‘exceptional case’ requiring the use of the veto because disclosure would be damaging to the doctrine of collective responsibility and detrimental to the effective operation of Cabinet government.

As Graham says in his blog:”What’s interesting here is that the word exceptional is used here not with its usual ‘plain English’ meaning of rare or unusual, but instead in a policy sense of ‘where an exception should be made’.”

Clever huh?

To use an exceptional understanding of the word exceptional and throw it up like some kind of linguistic force-field when the heat’s on.

One Word – Two Meanings – No Dice

Like not using lie when lie would serve you better.


Thanks to S. Nachalo for the CC Flickr image

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