writing contestby Jody Bruner

Thanks to everyone who took on the challenge of rewriting the sentence below to make it clearer and more concise:

“The purpose of this guidance is to inform pension plan administrators of the ABCD supervisory approach regarding certain requirements associated with the defined benefit (DB) provision of a pension plan, which is frozen and has purchased annuities in respect of all of the DB entitlements under the plan and almost all of those annuities meet the requirements of Section 43.1 of the Pension Benefits Act (PBA).”

Thanks to Greg, who left a comment on our website saying “This sentence contains many ambiguities and can’t be clarified without the editor having to make unacceptable assumptions.” Great point.

When you edit, I advise you to be unafraid to make assumptions and deep changes, but ask the writer to accept or correct your rewrites. This has always been my approach, and you would be surprised at how rarely I get push back. I find that most editors don’t go far enough.

Also, look for words used incorrectly. In the case of this sentence, the word ‘which’ is used incorrectly. The writer should have used ‘that.’ Once you make that change, it’s clear that everything after ‘that’ defines the kind of pension plan the guidance refers to.

The winning answer comes from Michael Macnaughton. Great idea to use ChatGPT to get started. You wisely took the AI generated rewrite and took it further. His response:

“The following ABCD regulatory approach applies to administrators of a pension plan where the frozen defined benefit (DB) portion contains a majority of purchased annuities that meet the requirements of Section 43.1 of the Pension Benefits Act.”

Elizabeth Ross gets a mention for doing such a good job of clarifying the first part of the sentence:

“This guide for pension plan administrators describes how to meet the requirements of the defined benefit (DB) provision of a pension plan.”

K. C. Madsen gets a special mention for taking a creative approach and editing the editor. He writes, “I was briefly confused by the instructions. I propose this change”:

Original sentence: “See if you can revise this sentence to make it clear and simple.”

Proposed sentence: “Can you rewrite the sentence below to be clear and simple?”

I will post another contest soon, and I promise it won’t be so difficult.

1 Comment
  1. Fascinating that the best answer was revised from a ChatGPT draft. The way of the future…

    Great revisions to a challenging sentence. And sage advice to make your best assumption when editing, then ask the writer to accept or correct. It’s interesting how changing just one word (which to that) makes all the difference to the meaning.