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Without context, messages get lost

In an article about Australian Standards on what I thought a national-focus site,  the following section stood out…

The retrofitting of automatic sprinkler systems became a mandatory requirement for existing aged care facilities in January 2013. Similar requirements also exist in Victoria and Queensland.

Fire sprinkler image over WA, not rotecting the rest of Australia

Does a national law only cover one state?

So two states have similar laws to the national laws? Why are the national laws not, well, national?

Or is the author just assuming everyone knows he is writing about a particular state because it is so important and somehow obvious?

Or was something edited out that made it clearer in the draft?

Fire safety is important – but so is clarity so people understand your message.

Clarify your context…

When proof reading and editing, always make sure you read your writing from start to finish to check the correct context is in place.

A better way to write the above sentence (and I’m guessing which state is the assumed one!) would be…

 

In January 2013, the retrofitting of automatic sprinkler systems became a mandatory requirement for existing aged care facilities in Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland.

I think it would also be nice to add another sentence along the lines of “The other states are reviewing their laws” or “Currently the other states have this as a voluntary measure”. I prefer to get the whole picture, but that could just be me!

If you want to avoid similar errors, let me know – I offer proof-reading and editing services as well as writing 🙂

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