Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 4 [game]

this-weeks-challenge-question-marcia-riefer-johnstonWelcome to¬†the concise-writing¬†game, “Tighten This!” Here’s Challenge Sentence 4, courtesy of Wendy Hood, my sister, who sent me¬†this photo:

Challenge-Sentence-4

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Your revision: _______________________ [Scroll to the bottom and put your revision in a comment by Friday, June 26.]

Tips:

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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:

It is advisable for you to read the notes and information detailed in the attached form and complete the form prior to its return to us in person by December 1 at the address you will find at the bottom of the form under the heading ‚ÄúReturn to.‚Ä̬†

Ray’s Pick

(Ray speaking) Winner: Anna Moretti.

Anna, in nine words, captures everything:

Please hand in your completed form by December 1.

This instruction, unlike the original, presupposes that anyone who can write (to fill out the form) can also read (to find and follow the instructions). I agree. (Anna could have saved a word by using “deliver” instead of “hand in.”)

Hat tip to Barbara Saunders for stepping back from the text and addressing an underlying problem with the form:¬†Deliver the attached form in person to [address] by December 1. (Remove “Return to” from the form.)¬†Barbara’s solution presupposes that we can change the form. If we can, then let’s align it with the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act: let’s remove the onerous and probably illegal requirement to deliver the form in person.

Marcia’s Pick

(Marcia speaking)¬†For the first time in the history of this game, I choose the same revision as Ray. Anna’s revision reduces the original sentence¬†to the information needed, eliminating almost everything¬†that¬†goes without saying.

But wait, I didn’t know we could go that far.¬†Is that going through your mind? If so, excellent. If you get nothing else from this game, I hope that you’ll get the habit of asking,¬†How far can I¬†go with my¬†revision?

Here’s how I whittled away at¬†last week’s sentence:

  • Our hypothetical reader would see that the form is attached and that it includes instructions (whose existence says read me), so we can delete this whole chunk:¬†It is advisable for you to read the notes and information detailed in the attached form.
  • A form, in its very formness, says¬†complete me, so we don’t need the words¬†complete the form. (You could even argue that the tightened¬†sentence doesn’t need to say your completed form; it could simply say¬†your form.¬†Anyone who¬†would hand in¬†a blank form probably needs more help than a brief note can give.)
  • The form includes a return-to address with¬†a heading, so our reader doesn’t need our note¬†to point out¬†this address.

Two bits of¬†information remain: the form must be returned (a)¬†in person¬†(b)¬†by December 1. Anna’s revision pares down to¬†those two bits. You could argue that some readers won’t understand¬†that¬†hand in¬†means¬†in person. You could also argue that we don’t need to say please. As¬†I see it, Anna’s revision fulfills¬†the spirit of this game. She appears to have gone through¬†the kind of thought process that this game celebrates.

Kudos to all of you who clearly also went through a similar thought process. Thanks for playing!

Here’s how Anna’s numbers crunch¬†(81% reduction in word count):

Challenge-Sentence-3-revision

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

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Again, Challenge Sentence 4

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Your revision: _______________________ [Scroll to the bottom and put your revision in a comment by Friday, June 26.]

Go!

Index of Challenge Sentences

27 thoughts on “Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 4 [game]

  1. We can refuse a copying order if it would violate copyright law.

    (I’m keeping the part about refusing an order because the staff will need to make a judgement call on each order. Being human, they might accidentally copy copyrighted materials, or they might mistakenly refuse an order.)

  2. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

    To maintain the Legal Parlance:
    We reserve our right to reject any Copying Order whose execution seems to contravene the Copyright Law.

    To say it simply:
    We might refuse any Copying Order that appears to violate the Copyright Law.

  3. This institutions reserves the right to refuse any copy order which violates copyright law.

  4. We reserve the right to refuse copying orders that, in our judgment, violate copyright law.

  5. This institution has the right to refuse and order if it violates copyright law.

  6. We do not fulfill a copying order if we determine that fulfiling it violates copyright law.

  7. Pingback: Tighten This! Challenge Sentence 5 [game] - Writing.RocksWriting.Rocks

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