let's say what plain English isn't and destroy some of the myths
It's not 'cat
sat on the mat or 'Peter and Jane' writing. Almost anything -
from leaflets and letters to legal documents - can be written in
plain English without being patronising or over-simple.
mean reducing the length or changing the meaning of your
message. Most of the UKs biggest insurance companies produce
policies that explain everything fully in plain English.
It's not about
banning new words, killing off long words or promoting
completely perfect grammar. Nor is it about letting grammar
It is not an
amateur's method of communication. Most forward-looking senior
managers always write in plain English.
it is not as easy as we would like to think.
Sadly, thanks to the bureaucrats of public service industries, local
councils, banks, building societies, insurance companies and
government departments, we have learned to accept an official style
of writing that is inefficient and often unfriendly.
But in the last few years, many of these offenders have started to
put things right, either rewriting their documents clearly or
training their staff in the art of plain English or both.
Basically the advantages of plain English are:
it is faster
to read; and
you get your
message across more often, more easily and in a friendlier way.
If you spend more than an hour a day writing, you are to an extent a
professional writer. So itís vital that you get it right.
So what is plain English? It is a message, written with the reader
in mind and with the right tone of voice that is clear and concise.