Communication Skills

JS Tip 112: From the Writing Workshops: The Monster [Sentence] That Devoured Cleveland

Last week we offered this sentence:  

Improvement Deferred Maintenance: The perceived deferred maintenance situation for the subject property consisting of the building improvement, exterior non-building site improvements, attached fixtures assets based on observations obtained during the property inspection and subsequent information obtained during the appraisal process is rated by the appraiser as of the effective date of appraisal as average with modest atypical probable expenditures in this regard in the immediate future.

And this rewrite:

Deferred maintenance costs will be average.

We asked for your thoughts, and you responded:

Jackie Mattila offered a simple, “Oh my gosh.”

Rita Martin explained she wouldn’t read the original.

Dana Neumann said the original was “too technical and I would not want to read this. I got lost trying to read it.”

Darrell Harmon explained, “The writer was taught to write this way. Or he—or she—wanted to come off as very intelligent. (It didn’t work.)”

Mike Bannen expressed his concern that “poor writing is common . . . . Passive construction, too many prepositional phrases, and unnecessary wording are the standard, not the exception, in most of the writing I have to read. I hope we can start turning that around!”

Next week: Back to basics.