Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 21 [writing/editing game]

this-weeks-challenge-question-marcia-riefer-johnstonWelcome to¬†the concise-writing¬†game, Tighten This! Here’s Challenge Sentence 21. (Thanks to¬†Jeff Greer for pointing me to the¬†Center for Plain Language “WonderMark Hall of Shame,” where I found the inspiration for this gem.)

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.

Your revision: _______________________
[Reminder: Feel free to use multiple sentences to put this sentence out of its misery. Scroll to the bottom and put your revision in a comment by Friday, Oct. 30.]

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¬†(submitted by Jeff Greer), here it is again:

The GoldenSneakers fitness program is designed exclusively for older adults and offers them an innovative blend of physical activity, healthy lifestyle direction, and plentiful social opportunities.

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) The World Series will start on Tuesday. After 26 weeks of regular games and 3 more weeks of playoffs, the best teams have emerged, and their players are in top form.

After 20 weeks, the Tighten This! players are in top form, too. You all did a fantastic job editing the GoldenSneakers copy. Every submission enhanced the original sentence.

I went in thinking that it would be hard to improve the original sentence, retain all of its meaning, and shorten it by more than a few words. But Judy Gregory proved me wrong. She¬†deftly eliminated verbiage, finding synonyms for the program’s offerings (physical activity, etc.) that were tight, descriptive, and‚ÄĒbonus points!‚ÄĒalliterative.

The GoldenSneakers program for older adults offers fitness, lifestyle advice, friendship, and fun. [13 words]

tight writing

I also especially liked the contributions from Jim Durning and Jodie Gilmore. I liked everyone’s contributions. In baseball parlance, you’re all All-Stars.

(How did Marcia arrive at the translation formula¬†in the spreadsheet above? See¬†‚ÄúWrite Tight(er): Get to the Point and Save Millions.‚ÄĚ)

Ray’s Pick

(Ray Johnston speaking) This alternative retains the salient info, eliminates the bloat and the condescension, and reduces word count by 35%. GoldenSneakers, our fitness program for older adults, provides access to social opportunities, physical activity, and lifestyle coaching. [17 words]

This week’s ribbon goes to Judy Gregory. (Fun¬†seems a bit of a stretch, but hey.)

[Larry concurred. See Judy’s revision above.]

Several of the entries read almost as well as Judy’s, and¬†every¬†entry improves greatly on the original.

Marcia’s Pick

(Marcia Johnston speaking) Jeff, who supplied last week’s sentence, told me how his team revised it:

This GoldenSneakers fitness program enables older adults to enjoy fitness, fun, and friends. [13 words]

concise-writing-Jeff-Greer

Wait,¬†you might think. That changes the meaning.¬†True. Jeff’s team knew that this sentence needed¬†to¬†entice people. Which would you (or your parents) rather sign up for: “healthy lifestyle direction and plentiful social opportunities” or “fun and friends”?

Judy Gregory’s revision knocked the ball over the fence. These folks were in the ballpark: Jodie Gilmore, Leigh, Christoph, and Marc Evans. Thanks, as always, to all of you who jumped in the game. And thanks for my fellow judges for stepping up to¬†the plate every week. Until next time, keep swinging, everyone.

Sign Up!

Want to play Tighten This! every week? Want a shot of¬†fun while building your concise-writing skills with word-loving friends? Want to edify your inner editor? Subscribe to my blog under the heading “Sign Up!”¬†(above right or, on a mobile device, all the way at the bottom). Then,¬†each time I publish a post, you’ll receive an email.

Again, Challenge Sentence 21

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.

Your revision: _______________________
[Reminder: Feel free to use multiple sentences to put this sentence out of its misery. Scroll to the bottom and put your revision in a comment by Friday, Oct. 30.]

Go!

Index of Challenge Sentences

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

  1. For flights departing from 8/26/2012 to 9/9/2012 and returning from 8/26/2012 to 3/8/2013, passengers have one chance to change flight dates or times at no additional cost according to airline policies because uncontrollable circumstances may affect those flights.

  2. Because of unforeseen service disruptions, passengers scheduled to depart between 8/26/2012 and 9/9/2012 and return between 8/26/2012 and 3/8/2013 can reschedule their flights at no extra cost.

  3. 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.

  4. Gonna take a moment to think about this one, but just want to offer a tip of the hat to Judy Gregory on GoldenSneakers in the meantime: It sounds so obvious once I read it! Love it. Sort of like a pipe cleaner through the head ūüėČ

    Kudos! Am learning lots!

  5. We apologise that weather and [be specific] have disrupted our flight schedule. If this has affected the flight you have booked, you have one chance to change your flight date or time at no extra cost.
    For departing flights, this offer applies to travel dates 26 August 2012 to 9 September 2012.
    For returning flights, this offer applies to travel dates 26 August 2012 to 8 March 2013.

    notes – there was no apology in the original but it’s nice to have even if the circumstances were unforeseen; I hate ‘etc’ because I don’t know what other things they mean; I prefer months written out especially as 3/8 can be the 3rd of August or the 8th of March, depending on which side of the pond you come from.

  6. Your booked flight might be disrupted for reasons beyond our control. We apologize for any inconvenience to you. As a one-off, you can reschedule your flight for free if your current departure is between August 26 – September 9, 2012 and your return is between August 26, 2012 – March 8, 2013.

    (Although not in the original, I added an apology, as it can help to foster customer goodwill. I changed the date formats because numeric-only dates – with the month listed first – can be confusing to non-Americans – myself included!)

  7. Two possibilities. First, if the airline is at all competent (a dicey proposition these days:-), they should know whether you are booked on a flight that may be affected, and they should send you information that applies to your exact situation. In that case, the following should suffice:

    “NAME THE CAUSE may cause your scheduled flight, XX-flightnum on MM/DD/YYYY, to be delayed or canceled. We apologize for the inconvenience. In accordance with our re-accommodation policy, you may reschedule your flight at no additional charge.”

    Second possibility, which is more in the spirit of this challenge:

    “If you are booked on a flight that departs between 8/26/2012 and 9/9/2012 and returns between 8/26/2012 and 3/8/2013, your flight may be delayed or canceled. We apologize for the inconvenience. In accordance with our re-accommodation policy, you may reschedule your flight at no additional charge.”

  8. 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.

  9. Pingback: Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 22 [writing/editing game] - Writing.RocksWriting.Rocks

Comments are closed.