A Christmas Gift

Today we’re going to look at a well-written report from Christmas Eve in 2011. Amanda Blocker was a dancer at the Gold Nugget Lounge in Florida. A customer promised to leave $40 for her as a gift. But after Blocker found the money on the bar and took it home, she felt guilty and called the police. They told her no one had made a complaint about the money.

Here’s the report:

The report is concise and objective. I have two suggestions:

1. The first two sentences could be more efficient. “Made contact” is vague. Did you talk to her in person? Phone her? Text her? And you can omit “upon arrival.” If you talk to her at the address, it’s clear you had arrived there.

I responded to X Ave. Upon arrival I made contact with Amanda Blocker. WORDY

At X Ave I talked to Amanda Blocker.  BETTER

2.  Don’t use the jargonish advised when you mean told. Save advised for actual advice:

I advised her no one had made a complaint about the money.  JARGON

I told her no one had made a complaint about the money.  BETTER

One sentence in this report especially impressed me:

When she arrived home, she felt bad and thought she had stolen the money.  CORRECT

Felt bad is correct English! (You feel bad, feel happy, feel sad, and so on. You don’t feel badly, feel happily, or feel sadly.)  This officer got it right.

two $20 bills

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