The other day I sent out a reminder to people who would attend the public Better Business Writing class yesterday. In it, I wrote:
Class begins at 8:30 sharp.
The sentence felt too schoolmarmish--as though I would give a detention to anyone who arrived late, and maybe whack them with a ruler. At the same time, I wanted people to know we would start at 8:30 a.m.--not any later, even if they weren't there.
I changed to this sentence:
We will begin promptly at 8:30.
"We" signaled inclusion. "Promptly" said we would be efficient. No detentions, no stings.
I thought you might appreciate the example.