Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 30 [writing/editing game]

this-weeks-challenge-question-marcia-riefer-johnstonWelcome to the concise-writing game, Tighten This! Here’s Challenge Sentence 30 (from a slide in a webinar encouraging people to write shorter sentences).

Factors that are involved in prolonging the life of this device include, but are not limited to, the following: advancing the device through the endoscope accessory channel in short increments, withdrawing the device from the channel gently, avoiding loops and kinks in the catheter, rolling the device into a coil that has a minimum 8-inch (20-cm) diameter, and thoroughly cleaning the device following the instructions that are included in this booklet.

Your revision: _______________________
[Scroll to the bottom and put your revision in a comment by Friday, Jan. 15.]

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 the previous Challenge Sentence, here it is again:

The core of our program is to empower young women (Aboriginal and nonAboriginals) in Australia with the skills and knowledge to make life-changing choices; we strongly believe that education is the key to improve one’s social economics and livelihood.

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.

Larry’s Pick (Larry Kunz speaking)

When I judge the Tighten This! game, I look for entries that hit the “Goldilocks” target: not too wordy, but not so terse that important ideas are left out. Thus, while I liked all of this week’s entries, I was initially put off by Leigh’s seven-word effort. Too terse, my gut said.

Then I looked more closely. What important idea did Leigh leave out? The program is for young Australian women (Aboriginals and nonAboriginals, which simply means all of them). Check. The program is grounded in teaching. Check. The women are empowered (gack—that word is so overdone) to make life-changing choices … in other words, they obtain life-enhancing skills. So, check again.

Congratulations, Leigh. As Rose said, you were a hard act to follow. And hats off to everyone.

Leigh’s revision:

We teach young Australian women life-enhancing skills.

Leigh's revision

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

Ray’s Pick (Ray Johnston speaking)

So many words; so little meaning.

First

The core of our program is to empower…

Make that Our program empowers…

Second

The set of things that includes X and NOT X includes pretty much all things; so we shorten young women (Aboriginal and nonAboriginals (sic)) in Australia to all young women in Australia.

Third

How about we empower them to make POSITIVE life-changing choices.

Fourth

If you’ve watched more than an hour of TV in the past couple of years, you’ve seen one of these Geico commercials.

1: Wow! Geico could save me 15% on car insurance!
2: Everybody knows that.
1: Yeah, but did you know that there really is an oldest trick in the book?
… and so on.

When the author of this week’s sentence announces, with considerable energy, that “education is the key,” we have the same response: everybody knows that.

Fifth

Finally, as we slam into social economics, we hear the voice of Inigo Montoya: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

The website of the Association for Social Economics sez, “Social economics is the study of the ethical and social causes and consequences of economic behavior, institutions, organizations, theory, and policy.”

So… Our program gives all young women in Australia the skills and knowledge needed to make positive choices.

Leigh kills it! (And Rose gets a hat tip for her shout-out.)

We teach young Australian women life-enhancing skills.

Marcia’s Pick (Marcia Johnston speaking)

I might winnow our Challenge Sentence to something like this: Our program empowers all young Australian women to take charge of their livelihoods.

Leigh submitted something even tighter: We teach young Australian women life-enhancing skills. Julian’s and Rhonda’s revisions say basically the same thing in about the same number of words.

Rose Craig uses more words, but I’m going with her response since she retains the sense that the skills relate to work, which strikes me as an important part of the original message. Rose cuts the word count in half with this revision:

We teach young Australian women skills to give them more opportunities in life and improve their job prospects.

Rose's revision

In case you wonder, no, I’m not disagreeing with Larry and Ray on principle. I didn’t see their responses until I had written my own. I have to say, though, that I’m relieved. I would hate for this blog to disappoint you by failing to deliver a little controversy. Let the shouting begin!

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Again, Challenge Sentence 30

Factors that are involved in prolonging the life of this device include, but are not limited to, the following: advancing the device through the endoscope accessory channel in short increments, withdrawing the device from the channel gently, avoiding loops and kinks in the catheter, rolling the device into a coil that has a minimum 8-inch (20-cm) diameter, and thoroughly cleaning the device following the instructions that are included in this booklet.

Your revision: _______________________
[Scroll to the bottom and put your revision in a comment by Friday, Jan. 15.]

Go!

Index of Challenge Sentences

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29 thoughts on “Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 30 [writing/editing game]

  1. This is a tough one because you really can’t shorten it too much, and because there are aspects that require more information (e.g., where did “catheter” come from? Is that the device or is it part of the device). So, I just dropped a bunch of adjectives and turned it into a list. Here goes:

    To prolong the life of this device:
    1) Advance the device through the channel in short increments
    2) Withdraw the device gently
    3) Avoid loops and kinks in the catheter
    4) Clean the device thoroughly, following the instructions in [XREF to the instructions].
    5) Coil the device with a minimum diameter of 8 inches (20 cm)

  2. I hope everyone had great holidays and someone in this group wins the big money in the Powerball … Here is my try:

    Keep your endoscope in top condition by always advancing it through the accessory channel slowly, withdrawing it gently, avoiding catheter loops and kinks, coiling it with a minimum 8-inch (20-cm) diameter, and cleaning it according to this booklet’s instructions.

  3. Tips to extend the life of this device include:
    • Move it within the endoscope accessory channel gently;
    • Avoid loops and kinks in the catheter;
    • Coil the device with a minimum 8 inch diameter; and
    • Follow this booklet’s recommended maintenance instructions.

  4. You can increase the life of this device by:
    * gradually inserting it
    * gently withdrawing it, avoiding kinks and loops
    * rolling it into a coil (min. 8″ [20 cm]) diameter)
    * thoroughly cleaning it according to the instructions in this booklet.

  5. Make your endoscope last with gentle and incremental operation of the accessory channel. Roll the catheter into a large coil, minimum diameter 8 inches (20 cm), avoiding loops and kinks. Clean thoroughly. Instructions included.

    I really wanted to go with, “treat your endoscope like a delicate flower…”

  6. This device will last longer if you advance and remove it gently, avoid kinks and clean it.

  7. To prolong the life of this device, use the following techniques:
    * Move the device bit by bit through the endoscope accessory channel
    * Remove it from the channel gently
    * Avoid loops and kinks in the catheter
    * Roll it into a coil of at least 8-inch (20-cm) diameter
    * Clean it thoroughly as described in this booklet.

    **********
    Some comments:
    I agree with others that bullets are what’s needed.
    I think the word “endoscope” is misspelled in the original.
    Anything to get rid of the quasi-legalistic wording “include, but are not limited to”!

  8. This device will last longer if you’re careful with inserting and removing it. Also try to prevent loops and kinks by rolling it into a coil of at least 8 inches (20 cm) when not in use. Keep it clean by following this booklet’s instructions.

  9. Be nice to the device. Treat it gently and keep it clean and it will last a long time.

  10. It’s been a crazy couple of months, but I’ve been dying to jump in a play again! Let’s give this one a shot.

    The device will last longest when used gently, cleaned properly, and stored loosely without kinks or loops.

  11. At first blush, I too thought •s (“alt” + “7” on the keyboard) were the way to go, but in the end, I decided otherwise.

    To prolong the life of the device, feed it through the sheath in short increments, avoiding kinks, and withdraw it carefully. And after use, clean it according to the instructions provided and store it coiled with at least an 8-inch diameter.

      • Thanks for asking, Marcia. I’m a big fan of bullets and find them ideally suited for lists of comparable items. And this Challenge can certainly be read as a set of tips for extending the life of this god-awful device. But then I saw it more as a warning about threading it carefully, with supplemental information about cleaning and storage. As such, the parts weren’t equal, so no bullets.

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