This week I'd like to share a step-by-step edit of a paragraph sent in by one of my students. Here is the original paragraph. The challenge was to get this down to one sentence.
This section presents the key themes identified from this environmental snapshot. Section 3.1 will present an overview of environmental IT-enabled quality measurement, Section 3.2 will describe possibilitiesfor the next generation of environmental IT-enabled quality measurement, and some critical challengesto achieving the next generation of environmental IT-enabled quality measurement will be highlighted in Section 3.3.
First, notice the reversal, where Section 3.1 and 3.2 are mentioned first, followed by a description, but then suddenly the description comes first for Section 3.3. Right away, this would be better if it were just a parallel list: Section 1 does this, Section 2 does that, and Section 3 does this other thing.
Second, notice that a bunch of the words are the same for all three sections. Repeating "environmental IT-enabled quality measurement" should not be necessary, so let's look for ways to use that phrase only once.
Third, find the words that are different. I highlighted them in bold above.
Fourth, eliminate the repetition:
This section gives an overview of the key themes identified from this snapshot of environmental IT-enabled quality measurement, and then explores possibilities and critical challenges for the next generation of this technology.
Fifth, depending on the audience for this piece of writing, consider rephrasing in more explanatory words exactly what "environmental IT-enabled quality measurement" is. That phrase is completely baffling to an outsider. It seems to me that it would make more sense if it were "IT-enabled environmental quality measurement."
Sixth, add the human element (our, we) to generate a personal connection with the reader:
Our environmental snapshot revealed ways we can use next-generation IT-enabled measurement systems to improve XXXXXX [whatever it is they improve]; but it also revealed some of the challenges this new technology must overcome to do so.
This Week's Challenge
Rewrite the following paragraph into two or three concise, clear sentences. Make sure to incorporate the personal element.
This course provides an introduction to the world of motorcycle riding to non-riders and will help non-riders decide if motorcycling is for them. The topics will include: Why ride motorcycles? Is it dangerous to ride a motorcycle? Can motorcycle riding be learned by anyone? Familiarization with enhanced motorcycle maintenance logging and tuning procedures. It's easy to learn to ride a motorcycle. Provides the opportunity to register for any motorcycle safety class and get the textbook free. Courses are taught by instructors trained and certified in motorcycle riding instruction as well as maintenance by the Motor Vehicle Department.
As always, I look forward to reading your submissions.
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