The weird grammar trick to make your taglines hit harder

Why do we say hip-hop, instead of hop-hip? Or King Kong, instead of Kong King?

You might think it’s just convention, but the truth is stranger.

Turns out, there’s an obscure grammatical rule governing the order of vowels. It’s called the ablaut reduplication rule. And it goes something like this.

If you repeat the consonants of the word, then only vary the vowels, the order of those vowels must be I - A - O. Or more technically, mouth shape goes from more closed to more open.

This just sounds right. Tick-tock, zig-zag, the list goes on…

But one place you might not expect it to show up: taglines. Especially short punchy ones. Yeah they use this too.

We try harder. Snap. Crackle. Pop. Taste the rainbow.

Now, do all taglines do this? No.

But, if you’re working on a tagline, and it doesn’t quite feel right—maybe you’re saying the right things in the wrong order.