Last month Microsoft laid off 1,400 staff, then discovered that they had given 25 of them too much severance pay. The company blamed this on an administrative error and asked the recipients to return the money. Microsoft subsequently backtracked, admitting that it wasn’t worthy of them to make such a request.
A statement by a company spokesperson said:
“We are reaching out to those impacted to relay that we will not seek any payment from those individuals.”
Compared to the finest gobbledegook this is modest enough, but gobbledegook it is; in plain English it seems to mean:
We’re telling those affected they can keep the money.
which conveys the message directly and succinctly, reducing the word count by more than half.
Word count reduction per se isn’t a holy grail, but we tend to use a lot more words than we need. This is especially true of Irish people, bless our wordy ways. Editing a document typically reduces its word count by at least 5–10%.