JS Tip 483: Real-world Writing Problems

From the Writing Workshops: Real-world Writing Examples

Last Friday, a major broadband provider had a major service outage.

They quickly solved the problem. That was good. 

Their press release had problems. That was bad. 

Two problems:

Problem One: It used stilted language.

Their press release: 


  • One of [our] partners had a fiber cut that we believe is also impacting other providers. 




No. Try “affecting.” “Impacting” is a poor substitute. It suggests the writer couldn't decide between “affecting” and “effecting.” 

They could also tighten up the language:


  • One of our partners cut a fiber cable that affected other providers.


Problem Two: It had a run-on sentence. 

A run-on sentence is not necessarily a long sentence. It’s a sentence with two thoughts poorly connected.

Their press release: 

  • We’re working as quickly as possible to have service restored, we don’t have an ETA at this time.

Notice the two thoughts: One: “We’re working as quickly as possible,” and two: “We don’t have an ETA.” The comma between them isn’t strong enough to connect the two thoughts.  

Three solutions: 

  • Use two sentences: “We’re working quickly to restore service. We don’t have an ETA at this time.”

    Use a comma and a connecting word: “We’re working quickly to restore service, but we don’t have an ETA at this time.”

    Use a semicolon: “We’re working quickly to restore service; we don’t have an ETA at this time.”  

How’s that? What do you think? 

If you have questions, let us know. This is fun. 


Mark Brooks