Writing Assignment: Write A Classified Ad

by Randy Murray on November 19, 2010

Brevity is not just a virtue; it’s a carefully honed skill. To relay an idea or to call for an action in a very limited space requires thought, editing, and clear word choices.

Before Craig’s List and eBay, if you wanted to buy, sell, or trade things, you would take out a classified advertisement in a newspaper. And you’d pay for it by the word, perhaps by the character. The same requirements applied to sending a message by telegraph.  You can say whatever you want, but you must pay for every letter. Today, you can run on at length with no penalty. Except for the loss of clarity.

In today’s assignment, write a classified advertisement to sell an object in your home. Be specific about the object, be clear about its condition, and be direct about your requirements for its sale. I will charge you twenty cents per word for your ad. You may spend no more than twelve dollars.

Here’s my example:

The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit audiobooks on CD. The set is the complete and unabridged text as read by Rob Inglass. Widely regarded as the definitive edition – nearly 3 days of listening! CDs in excellent condition – the packaging is worn, one set missing the outer box. $80 OBO. Cash only.

Ad cost = $10.60

The Writing Assignment: Write A Classified Ad by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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