Theory has its
place, but an example often makes learning something much
easier. In many areas, an
example of a mistake or poor quality
is an even more effective teacher than examples of the correct
technique so here is such an example to learn from.
The following example is from an email I received from a supplier to one of my clients. Unfortunately, this is not the first poor writing example I’ve read from this supplier – I very much have the impression that they care about the skill they are good at and forget that clear communications and customer service are also important aspects to a successful business.
However we will ensure that all your existing clients with the redundant field already switched on to ‘Yes’ is checked in the yet to be renamed Health field setting “Has private patient hospital cover”. This will prevent any intervention on your part to make any manual updates after the change.
The first sentence in its simplest form is ‘we will make all your clients checked in the new field’ which clearly is badly written. By adding so many details to the sentence, they have confused the subject and made the sentence hard to understand.
The start and end of a sentence must be about the same subject for the sentence to make sense. So ‘the manager reports to the CEO’ works even if it is more detailed like ‘the manager on the fifth floor reports to the parent company’s CEO’ because the essential subject and action work together. Compare this to ‘the manager of the fifth floor in in the relocation project team reporting to the CEO’.
However, the new hospital cover field will be checked for any existing clients with a ‘yes’ in the redundant field. This means you don’t have to manually update the database as part of this change.