Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 41 [writing/editing game]

this-weeks-challenge-question-marcia-riefer-johnstonWelcome to the concise-writing game, Tighten This! Here’s Challenge Sentence 41, courtesy of Penny J. Beebe:

It is recommended that the Committee review and comment on the components of the recommended policy for going forward with the management and operation of animal care and control operations in Yourtown. 

Your revision: _______________________
[Scroll to the bottom and put your revision in a comment by Friday, April 1.]

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 last week’s Challenge Sentence, here it is again:

Our mission, which is to provide the highest level of educational experience for all of our children, is of paramount importance and is reflected in the dedicated and talented professionals who work each day on behalf of our students and communities.

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 Josh Bernoff quoted last week’s sentence on his blog, he tightened it thus: We try to do a good job.

Josh, of course, wanted us to see that the writer was being disingenuous. Here at Tighten This! we hew to a different standard. We try to preserve the gist of what the writers said, even when we think their motives impure.

So what’s the gist of last week’s sentence?

  • The children are the main thing.
  • Our teachers are dedicated, talented, and hardworking.

We have another good crop of entries this week. I especially like the ones that turned our children into your children, because it was for the parents’ benefit the sentence was written.

I very much liked Patricia’s entry because it makes the children, not the teachers and not the mission, the subject. Alas, it doesn’t retain the bit about the dedicated, talented, and hardworking teachers. Patricia, you are first runner up. (If anything should happen to the winner, etc., etc.)

My pick this week is Rhonda’s entry. It speaks directly to the audience while properly spotlighting both children and teachers. While I squirmed a bit at the syllable count in exceptional educational experiences, the word count is beyond reproach. Well done.

Our dedicated, professional, and talented staff give your children exceptional educational experiences.

write tight

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)

“Our mission, which is to provide the highest level of educational experience for all of our children, is of paramount importance and is reflected in the dedicated and talented professionals who work each day on behalf of our students and communities.”

Blah blah blah blah blah.

Alex Trebek might ask, “What questions does this sentence answer?”

  • Is your mission to provide the lowest level of educational experience?
  • Is education important and, if it is, then exactly how important?
  • Did you hire ignorant, untrained teachers to work, whenever they happen to feel like doing so, on behalf of their own 401(k)s?

What would happen—what would change—if we deleted the entire sentence?

Edwin Starr asks, rhetorically, another question—”War! Hunh! What is it good for?”—and he immediately answers both his own question and mine:

Absolutely nothin’.

Each of last week’s entries nicely tightens the original, so I split the pie nine ways. (Sorry, Rhonda. Two entries does not get you two slices!)

Marcia’s Pick (Marcia Johnston speaking)

Self-serving. That’s how last week’s Challenge Sentence is described by the blogger, Josh Bernoff. Josh boils that sentence—and the two that came before it—down to seven words: We try to do a good job. (I recommend reading Josh’s whole post, “How Extra Words Undermine Trust: A Case Study.” )

Everyone who played last week tackled an unpleasant job. Tightening a self-serving, uninformative sentence still leaves you stuck with a self-serving, uninformative sentence. What school wouldn’t say that it aims to provide the highest level of educational experience for all its children? What school doesn’t consider “dedicated and talented” teachers of “paramount importance”? (What other kind of importance is there?)

Patricia went for laudable directness with her revision: Your child deserves the best education. We can provide that. No school can back up a claim that broad, though. For the word-count, I use Abbe’s appropriately aspirational revision:

We believe all children have the right to quality education.

I’ve added the little word that: “We believe that all children…” To find out why, see “‘That’ Doesn’t Go without Saying.”

concise-tight-writing

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Again, Challenge Sentence 41

It is recommended that the Committee review and comment on the components of the recommended policy for going forward with the management and operation of animal care and control operations in Yourtown.

Your revision: _______________________
[Scroll to the bottom and put your revision in a comment by Friday, April 1.]

Go!

Index of Challenge Sentences

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9 thoughts on “Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 41 [writing/editing game]

  1. The last one was great. I have written plenty of mission statements as if I was being paid by the word 🙂

    On this week’s challenge: The Committee should review and comment on recommended animal care and control operations policy in Yourtown.

    Thanks for this exercise each week. I enjoy the effort.

  2. Review of management and operation of town’s animal care and control is recommended.

  3. It’s recommended the Committee review and comment on Yourtown’s animal care and control management and operation policy.

  4. Committee: Please review and comment on the proposed policy for animal care and control in Yourtown.

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