Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 13 [game]

this-weeks-challenge-question-marcia-riefer-johnstonWelcome to the concise-writing game, Tighten This! Here’s Challenge Sentence 13:

It is Juno’s intention to give an explanation of the app to her teenage grandson during the time of his next visit to see her.

Your revision: _______________________ [Scroll to the bottom and put your revision in a comment by Friday, September 4.]

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Last Week’s Challenge Sentence

In case you’re playing this game for the first time (welcome!), or in case you’ve had other things on your mind since you read last week’s Challenge Sentence, here it is again:

This tool helps companies identify which of the 60 most likely cyberattack scenarios are relevant to their situation.

Ray’s Pick

(Ray speaking) Last week’s challenge takes us someplace new. We can’t dramatically reduce word count, so we focus instead on editing to make the meaning as clear as possible.

Deborah Bosley posted the first and best entry: This tool helps companies identify which cyberattack scenarios are most relevant to them. Here’s the word-count breakdown:

Deborah's concise revision

Deborah removed 60 most likely—words that likely mean nothing to the customer—and tidied up the rest. She could also have removed scenarios—an empty word, as Nick points out. (Nick’s entry is strong, but his removal of this tool decapitates the sentence: this tool was the sentence subject, and now it has none.)

Note: Larry Kunz’s entry, had it arrived before Deborah’s, might have won.

I like hf’s editorial comments. It looks as though Deborah, Larry, and I took the same view—the 60 is irrelevant if the target audience consists of security-seeking consumers, whether individuals or megacorporations. However, if the target audience is not a consumer but, say, a security provider, then 60 might matter.

Marcia’s Pick

(Marcia speaking) In my own revision of last week’s Challenge Sentence, I shaved off only one word: are relevant to became pertain to (similar to Julian Cable’s apply to). You all beat me.

These editing choices caught my eye:

  • Cristian Perez swapped in pose a threat, a phrase that Kenneth Adams also appreciated: This tool helps companies identify which of the 60 most likely cyberattacks pose the biggest threat. (16 words)
  • Petra Liverani restructured the sentence and pared it down by four words without losing any meaning (slipping into second person, which usually works): Of the top 60 cyberthreats, this tool identifies those relevant to your company. (13 words)
  • Kristina, Beth, and Jennifer Dawson also went for the tight phrase the top 60.
  • Nick Shears proposed a supertight revision: Helps companies identify the most relevant of 60 likely cyberattacks. (10 words) Tempting. He makes a case for leaving the subject (this tool) implied. I opted to retain the subject, though, since we don’t know the context.

Bonus: Nick and Petra get the Observantness Prize for catching my typo (the 60 the most) in the Challenge Sentence as originally posted. Did you notice the typo, too? I have plenty of Observantness Prizes to go around.

My pick for this week is Kimberly Hume’s revision. She whittled our sentence down to 12 words, calling on the active verbs use and screen:

Companies use this tool to screen for the top 60 cyberattack scenarios.

Kimberly Hume concise sentence

(If I were revising this sentence for a client, I would flag the word screen and ask if it accurately describes what the tool does. Worth a shot. Sometimes swapping in an inaccurate word leads to insight-filled conversation and new possibilities for an even tighter sentence. Or a longer sentence. Or additional sentences. Or an image.)

How did I arrive at this translation formula? See “Write Tight(er): Get to the Point and Save Millions.”

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Again, Challenge Sentence 13

It is Juno’s intention to give an explanation of the app to her teenage grandson during the time of his next visit to see her.

Your revision: _______________________ [Scroll to the bottom and put your revision in a comment by Friday, September 4.]

Go!

Index of Challenge Sentences

73 thoughts on “Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 13 [game]

  1. Juno intends to explain the app to her teenage grandson when he next visits her.

  2. When Juno’s grandson next visits, she intends to explain the app to him.


    I weigh the importance of “intention” (that we don’t know the outcome) over the teenageness of the grandson.

    • Question: is it really nessasry to mention ‘…next visit’ or is it implied but the opening statement. Since in western cultures it’s rare to live with grandparents.
      Furthermore: a parent explaining an app to a teenager seems implausible, let alone a grandparent. In such a case, would this not make the statement sarcastic… As in ‘Juno intends to teach an app to her retarded teenage grandson.

      • Taffs,

        I know some grandparents who love to share their computer discoveries. I picked this example for this very reason—not all older people fit the stereotype. 🙂

        As for whether it’s necessary to mention “next visit,” I leave it to each person to wrestle with the question of what can be deleted without losing meaning. I describe this challenge here (under the subhead “This Game Is Impossible—Play Anyway”): http://writing.rocks/how-to-play-tighten-this/

  3. A teenage grandson is going to be showed how to use an app by his grandma Juno next time they see one another.

  4. Juno intends to explain the app to her teenage grandson when he next visits her.

    I debated whether I could drop the final “her” as well, since if it were someone (or some place) else they are both visiting, and where she plans to demo the app, the reader may expect the sentence to state that fact.

    But I decided it was important to retain “her” to avoid leaving the reader dangling. Some readers may get to the end of the sentence and be asking “when he next visits where?” and I prefer to tell them, rather than leaving them to re-read the sentence and work out what I meant. I think too few words can be as much of a problem as too many.

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