I'm having trouble with a particular sentence in my book. I had originally written:

Monica’s group of friends was a diverse mixture of race, gender, and background. Having once been described as looking like a United Colours of Benetton commercial, the group embraced the attempted insult and called themselves the CUBs.

The second sentence is the issue. It's a bit wordy and some people seem to have an issue with the fact that United Colours of Benetton is UCB, not CUB.

I can simplify the sentence to:

Monica’s group of friends was a diverse mixture of race, gender, and background. They had named themselves the Cubs, after once being described as looking like a United Colours of Benetton advertisement.

I'm left with the issue of still not lining up the letters. Many acronyms and abbreviations shuffle the letters around to look better, so should I worry about adding more text to describe that, or should I just leave it and hope most readers don't care about the order?

  • Thanks for the replies everyone, some great ideas to think about. It also served as a poll to see how many people it would bug. Turns out quite a few. I'm sticking with the Cubs group name, but I think I might drop the origin story and add it to some dialogue in the following book when I bring more characters in. – Morne Rooschuz Oct 17 '19 at 6:14
  • Hi Morne, welcome to writing.se. I see you have taken the tour, you can also check out the help center for more information. While I'm glad that people were able to help you, for future reference questions like these are strictly off-topic here. This question has 4/5 close votes and would have been closed if a number of our high-rep users weren't taking a break at the moment. Please try to avoid asking off-topic question in future. – linksassin Oct 18 '19 at 2:43
  • Thanks for the clarification. I'll be sure to pay closer attention to the distinction of forum Vs non-forum – Morne Rooschuz Oct 18 '19 at 16:15

Readers are either going to completely miss the point, or they are going to be confused about the mismatch.

Some suggestions:

  • Retain the commercial reference, and drop the "cubs" name.
  • Retain the name, drop the commercial, and think of a better origin for the name.
  • Retain both, but add a flashback to the interesting/humorous reason they ended up with a mixed-up name that so obviously doesn't match its origin.

Leaving it as is, isn't going to work so well.

  • While the suggestions are somewhat reasonable.. you actually didn't clean up the sentences at all... – dolphin_of_france Oct 17 '19 at 20:47
  • @dolphin_of_france, True, but the Title question is misleading. It wasn't the sentence that needed cleaning up, it was the basic idea behind it that was wrong. – Ray Butterworth Oct 17 '19 at 21:41

Readers will notice it and it will annoy some but there's a way to deal with this!


Let a character acknowledge that CUBs is a mangling of United Colours of Benetton. As a bonus, the reactions generated from that character's observation may be a good opportunity to develop personalities and dynamics within the group.


Answering questions on this site is difficult because most aspiring writers refuse to accept the concepts of subjectivity and style.

I'd go with the simpler text:

Monica’s group of friends was a diverse mixture of race, gender, and background. They had named themselves the Cubs.

  • Now leave it. Continue to tell your story. Although not particularly strong example, this is how you create suspense in a story.

At some point somebody will ask, "How did you lot end up with a name like the Cubs?"

"Well, we're such diverse bunch people likened us to a United Colours of Benetton ad."

"That doesn't make sense. How do you get from the United Colours of Benetton to Cubs?"

"It's the initials C.U.B." The speaker shrugged. "Okay, so we were like 8 years-old. It was kinda like a dyslexia rules K.O. thing!"

  • So I'm not on my best comedic form - but you get my drift.
  • Okay, I have to admit, "dyslexia rules KO" got a smile out of me. And you're right that OP doesn't need to explain the name straight away, or even at all. +1. – F1Krazy Oct 17 '19 at 16:54

I think less would be more, in this case. (as in many other cases)

Monica had a diverse group of friends, having often been described as a United Colours of Benetton commercial. So one day, the motley band decided to make it official and called themselves the Benettons.

And yes, I also find it hard to get "CUBs" out of United colours of Benetton.

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