In a car dealership

While I waited for my son-in-law, I saw a brochure about inflating your tires with nitrogen. I’d never heard of doing this, so I picked up the brochure. “Inflate your tires with Nitrogen Tire Inflation.” Never mind the repetition. I’ll read on.

The first few sentences all started with “Nitrogen is.” Besides the repetition, those sentences were not action-packed, showing me how nitrogen acted in my tires.

So, everybody makes mistakes. The next section added this sentence: “The most significant benefits of filling automobile tires with Nitrogen is enhanced safety.” Another “is” verb, so I missed out on seeing the nitrogen bring safety. And by the way, why is nitrogen capitalized throughout this brochure? And benefits is plural and the verb is singular. (is again)

Okay, here comes a section from the Wall Street Journal. That’s bound to be good writing. The second sentence has 35 words in it, so I lost all the meaning. And the next sentence started with: “Under-inflation was identified as a factor…” Who identified it? Another weak, passive verb.

The back of this brochure will, no doubt, outshine the front. “Oxidative aging is caused by diffusion of oxygen from the pressure air cavity of the tire to the outside atmosphere.” Pardon me? Huh? Oxidative aging? And another passive verb. Please, just the final panel for some good writing. But no. Nitrogen is, Nitrogen is, Nitrogen can be mixed…

I noted that a company called Sym-Tech put the brochure together. You’ve had your chance, Sym-Tech. You got me interested and then – flat tire.

Good writing is writing, no matter where it is. Fiction writing teaches us how to write. We can use our knowledge in brochures, in explaining to the public why they should inflate their tires with nitrogen.

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