Must you boast?

It can be hard to like someone who “talks with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about their achievements, possessions, or abilities”; ie they boast.

Yet, the word ‘boast’ is widely used in marketing materials, company brochures and even CVs, such as in these examples:

  • “Stunning detached Victorian family house which boasts considerable charm and character.”
  • “Our company boasts 100 professional translators and interpreters.”
  • “My experience boasts a wide range of competencies.”

Is ‘boasting’ helping? Each statement may provoke an emotional reaction; but is it a positive one?

Estate agents might be forgiven. Their use of language is often idiosyncratic.

Maybe a company may boast. Though as impersonal entities, the negative tone may not be helpful to the company’s image.

But should an individual’s CV explicitly boast? CVs are, after all, supposed to be judged. Will the prospective employer think that the skills and achievements merit any pride or satisfaction, let alone excessively so?

None of the statements above need ‘boast’. Simply replacing ‘boast’ with ‘has’ would take away the negative tone.

If an emotional reaction is sought, why not make it easier for the reader? As they stand the statements are about facts or features. Presumably these have some benefit, otherwise they wouldn’t be mentioned. So, why not reword to make the benefit clear?

Some benefit arises because of some attribute. So if any b-word should be used it is ‘because’.

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