AH, REPORT SENTENCES AND PHRASES!
Is there a good end to that sentence?
AH, REPORT SENTENCES AND PHRASES!
--Frasier TV Sitcom (Kelsey Grammer) in a telephone conversation with Roz
Report sentences represent the bare bones of how the analytical report memo is constructed. Often, these sentences carry so much weight that the ideas is lost in the mishmash of verbiage. I believe that the practice of rewriting sentences will strengthen your ability to operate logically and put down ideas that carry a message.
Even the first idea in your analytical report memo has to carry an impact. It must be the best sentence you have ever written.
I am indebted to my students from previous report writing classes for the ideas listed here.
The following sentences need rewriting. I will occasionally suggest some of the ways you might rewrite the sentences:
- Car thefts and break-ins continue to become a major problem on Strathern Street between Reseda and Sherman Way. (The sentence is too wordy.)
- I will submit this report to the managers of the apartment complexes on the street and other decision-making people; and this should lead to some changes for the better.
(Tell what "this" refers to, and do we have to start the sentence with I?)
- Learning keyboarding and shorthand skills, acquiring a cellular telephone, using a modem, a fax machine, E-mail, and the internet would increase efficiency. (Is the sentence sufficiently complete? Do we need any capital letters? Does a verb exist?)
- Increasing my ability to financially support myself while continuing as a full time student, and graduating with honers. (Is the sentence complete? Are there any spelling or punctuation errors?)
- The scope of this report is the financial responsibility of members of my sorority, Kappa Kappa Alpha. (Can we say this sentence without passive writing? Is there a better way to phrase this sentence?)
- This report does not deal with any other chapter of Kappa Kappa Alpha or any of the other sororities, it also only covers the financial part of Kappa Kappa Alpha. (Is there a problem with a comma splice? Do you see any run-ons?)
- Each sisters' monthly dues are $65 a month, not including extras such as: fines, formal, pictures, insurance and t-shirts. (Are there any punctuation errors? Do you see at least three? Can we make the sentence less passive?)
- Sisters become financially in arrears and they have a hard time getting themselves out of it. (Do you see a punctuation mark needed? Are there any redundancies?)
- Business students suffer from a lack of knowledge on electronic mail and the internet.
(Is this sentence the most positive way to state the idea? Do you see any problems with capital letters?)
- In this report I intend to show why this university and me need to increase the number of Business School students using electronic mail and the Internet. (Can't this sentence be tightened? Can you change the meaning without including a personal reference?)
- Data includes factual information, used as a basis for educational purposes. (Do you any problem with plural or singular verbs? Is there a mark of punctuation that needs omitting?)
- The Business School will provide four handouts on electronic mail and the Internet, also being used as secondary data. (The writer is trying to say that the School will provide some handouts without specifying a number. Also, do you see any misplaced modifiers that, with change, would improve the sentence?)
- The reason I chose doctors and attorneys, was because they are small companies that have a higher percentage of not having any recovery programs than larger companies such as Chrysler and General Electric. (Do you see any problem with punctuation in this sentence? Did you catch the two punctuation errors?)
- The report will cover employee alcoholism in the offices of lawyers and doctors. (Do you see any problem with tense? Remember, we try to write in the present tense wherever possible. Does a report cover?)
- The purpose of this report is to find out what triggers employee theft and to determine the best ways to prevent and control it. (Why do we have to be so wordy at the beginning of the sentence? Is there any other way than passive writing to state this sentence?)
- The bottom line is that management must insure that employees are aware of employee theft procedures, rewarded when they come forward to inform management of possible theft ocurrence, and treated with sensitivity about their concerns and complaints. (Do you see two spelling errors? Is there a problem with parallelism in the sentence? How would you improve the sentence?)
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Last updated October 23, 1996
(c)copyright G. Jay Christensen, All Rights Reserved