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Describe then recommend, or just say fix it?


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"Beside the main tub, a baseboard trim piece needs to be painted where it was cut. MDF medium density fiberboard absorbs water more readily than wood and needs to be kept painted".

I wish I could take that back and rewrite it.

"Paint the raw end of the MDF to minimize moisture damage". Is this better?

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If I'm trying to describe a problem, I try to always start the sentence with a preposition and describe the location first: beside the tub, under the sink, in the furnace, over the rainbow, etc. When you're trying to describe an issue, particularly a complex one, it helps to cite the location first so that people can imagine it from the ground up, so to speak, as it's being described.

If I'm writing a recommendation, I try to always start the sentence with a verb: paint the trim, patch the hole, hire an electrician, etc. This puts the sentence into the imperative making it very easy to understand.

If I'm combining the two, I start with the verb, as you did in your second example, because it makes the sentence more lively and active. To do it the other way just doesn't have the same punch: to minimize water damage, paint the MDF, is blah.

By the way, several years ago, another inspector challenged me to write a whole report in iambic pentameter. (Beside the tub, I found a rotted floor. Repair it now, before your foot goes through.) I didn't get very far with it, but it made me think about report writing in ways that I hadn't considered before. It gave me fresh perspectives and it was a challenging mental exercise. Try a few lines in Haiku or IP or some other poetic form to stretch your report writing muscles.

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10,000 times better.

but I'd write, "Paint the trim next to the bath tub or it'll swell up bigger than a space walker with a leaky suit"

Then I'd sit back and wait for the phone call.

Write "It'll swell up quicker than a schoolboy's xxxx" and the phone won't ring no more. [:)]

Try a few lines in Haiku or IP or some other poetic form to stretch your report writing muscles.

You mean like "Eight miles outa Memphis and I ain't got a prayer?"

Yeah, that could be fun.

The toilet's leakin, floor she's creakin, I'm all thru speakin and gone all weekend. [:)]

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If I'm trying to describe a problem, I try to always start the sentence with a preposition and describe the location first: beside the tub, under the sink, in the furnace, over the rainbow, etc. When you're trying to describe an issue, particularly a complex one, it helps to cite the location first so that people can imagine it from the ground up, so to speak, as it's being described.

If I'm writing a recommendation, I try to always start the sentence with a verb: paint the trim, patch the hole, hire an electrician, etc. This puts the sentence into the imperative making it very easy to understand.

If I'm combining the two, I start with the verb, as you did in your second example, because it makes the sentence more lively and active. To do it the other way just doesn't have the same punch: to minimize water damage, paint the MDF, is blah.

By the way, several years ago, another inspector challenged me to write a whole report in iambic pentameter. (Beside the tub, I found a rotted floor. Repair it now, before your foot goes through.) I didn't get very far with it, but it made me think about report writing in ways that I hadn't considered before. It gave me fresh perspectives and it was a challenging mental exercise. Try a few lines in Haiku or IP or some other poetic form to stretch your report writing muscles.

Curious. Did you gain this mastery of prose without benefit of a major in English?

Marc

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If I'm trying to describe a problem, I try to always start the sentence with a preposition and describe the location first: beside the tub, under the sink, in the furnace, over the rainbow, etc. When you're trying to describe an issue, particularly a complex one, it helps to cite the location first so that people can imagine it from the ground up, so to speak, as it's being described.

If I'm writing a recommendation, I try to always start the sentence with a verb: paint the trim, patch the hole, hire an electrician, etc. This puts the sentence into the imperative making it very easy to understand.

If I'm combining the two, I start with the verb, as you did in your second example, because it makes the sentence more lively and active. To do it the other way just doesn't have the same punch: to minimize water damage, paint the MDF, is blah.

By the way, several years ago, another inspector challenged me to write a whole report in iambic pentameter. (Beside the tub, I found a rotted floor. Repair it now, before your foot goes through.) I didn't get very far with it, but it made me think about report writing in ways that I hadn't considered before. It gave me fresh perspectives and it was a challenging mental exercise. Try a few lines in Haiku or IP or some other poetic form to stretch your report writing muscles.

Curious. Did you gain this mastery of prose without benefit of a major in English?

It's not a mastery of prose, just a formula that works for me. Whatever writing ability I have came from reading Strunk & White (having it beat into me in both high school & college, actually) and from paying attention to whatever Walter Jowers said when he talked about writing.

I attended a "progressive" school that didn't use grade scores (just pass/fail) and had very few tests. In lieu of tests, we had to write, and write, and write. That probably helped too.

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  • 11 months later...

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