Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 22 [writing/editing game]

this-weeks-challenge-question-marcia-riefer-johnstonWelcome to the concise-writing game, Tighten This! Here’s Challenge Sentence 22.

The strategic decision to upgrade your system depends heavily on the expectation of a long-term benefit in terms of productivity and overall cost and return on investment.

Your revision: _______________________
[Scroll to the bottom and put your revision in a comment by Friday, Nov. 6.]

Tips:

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—courtesy of Jeff Greer—here it is again:

Circumstances beyond our control (weather, etc.) are creating disruptions to our scheduled service, and a flight on which you are currently booked may be adversely affected; so, to minimize your inconvenience, we are offering you the one-time opportunity to change your flight date or time at no additional cost in accordance with our established reaccommodation practices if, for your departing flight, your travel dates are 8/26/2012 to 9/9/2012 and, for your returning flight, your travel dates are 8/26/2012 to 3/8/2013.

Read on to hear thoughts from the game’s three judges: Larry Kunz (a seasoned technical writer and blogger who has participated in this game from the beginning), Ray (my husband), and me.

Ray’s Pick

(Ray Johnston speaking) Here’s the nut; the rest is husk. If your departure date is between August 26 and September 9, and if your return date is between August 8 and March 8, you may, without charge, change your flight dates or your flight times.

Susan! That cloud making it so hard to for everyone to see? That’s confetti … and it’s all for YOU!

[Susan’s revison] Are you flying out between August 26 and September 9, 2012 and returning between August 26, 2012 and March 8, 2013? Because weather is disrupting our scheduled service for that period, we invite you to book an alternate flight for free.

long-sentence-tightened

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

Larry’s Pick

(Larry Kunz speaking) Boo! Just in time for Halloween, Marcia unveiled what might be the scariest Tighten This! sentence ever. Yet the players were more than up to the challenge.

skeleton with sentencesWhile I appreciate some players’ impulses to add a note of contrition if not an outright apology, I don’t think it’s necessary to be so grave. The gist of the original sentence, after you strip away all the ghoulish verbiage, is straightforward, not apologetic: “Hey, we’re offering you a break here.”

Two entries stood out for me.

  • Rafael Manory distilled the original sentence down to its bones. (Cue the skeleton dropping from the ceiling.)
  • My favorite entry was Susan’s. She tightened the text and personalized it. She made it no scarier than Casper the Friendly Ghost. Nice trick, Susan. For me that sentence was a treat.

[See Susan’s revision above.]

#Write down to the bare bones. Tighten This! for Halloween. Click To Tweet

Marcia’s Pick

(Marcia Johnston speaking) Thanks to all who took on last week’s prize-winning exemplar of verbosity. Richard Hamilton, Susan, Julian Cable, and Rhonda came up with especially friendly, direct revisions. Rhonda’s revision cuts the word count by 54%:

Your flight schedule may be affected by circumstances beyond our control. If your departure date is between 8/26/2012 and 9/9/2012, and your return date is between 8/26/2012 and 3/8/2013, you can change your flight date/time for free.

long-sentence-tightened-2

I like that Rhonda’s revision—like Susan’s—ends, strategically, on a word that gives readers as much pleasure as candy tossed into a Halloween sack: free.

Speaking of free stuff and strategic last words, I invite you to download a free PDF of my book chapter “The Last Word.” Don’t be afraid.

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Again, Challenge Sentence 22

The strategic decision to upgrade your system depends heavily on the expectation of a long-term benefit in terms of productivity and overall cost and return on investment.

Your revision: _______________________
[Scroll to the bottom and put your revision in a comment by Friday, Nov. 6.]

Go!

Index of Challenge Sentences

21 thoughts on “Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 22 [writing/editing game]

  1. Only upgrade your system after considering productivity growth, total cost, and return on investment.

  2. Based on overall cost, long-term productivity benefit, and return on investment, you upgrade the system.

  3. An upgrade to your system might be approved if it is cost-effective in the long term.

  4. The decision to upgrade your system, or anything else from a sponge to a spouse, depends upon whether the perceived benefits will outweigh the expected costs.

  5. Pingback: Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 23 [writing/editing game] - Writing.RocksWriting.Rocks

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