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"Plain English"

 

The Importance of Common and Everyday Words

In The King’s English (1906) the Fowler brothers laid down five practical rules in the domains of vocabulary that anyone who wishes to become a good writer should follow: 

  • Prefer the familiar word to the far-fetched.
 
  • Prefer the concrete word to the abstract.
 
  • Prefer the single word to the circumlocution.
 
  • Prefer the short word to the long.
 
  • Prefer the Saxon word to the Romance.

“Plain English” in Official Speech and Writing 

  • Since the Fowler brothers, the tradition that upholds “Plain English” has been strongly developed by A. P. Herbert, Ivor Brown, Eric Partridge, Ernest Gowers and others

 
  • The language of officialdom has been the object of much criticism by these and other authors

 
  • One of its chief characteristics, which is often condemned as “pompous”, has been the use of words and phrases, drawn mainly from the Romance layers of vocabulary

 
  • Typically, the composing official chooses words, which have little popular echo, because he or she is afraid of being accused by superiors or the public of lacking a proper command of “dignified”, remote, and impersonal English

 
  • On occasions, the language is liable to deliberate abuse by individuals and social and professional groups in order to mislead, distort, deceive, circumvent, and obfuscate

 
  • The official jargon is criticised when it is used to impress or confuse rather than communicate

 
  • The official jargon has been derided by names like officialese, barnacular, Whitehallese, mandarine prose of the Civil Service in Britain, Federal Prose, Pentagonese, bureaucratese, and Washington Choctaw in the United States

 

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"PLAIN ENGLISH"

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Have you ever wanted to use meaningless, empty phrases that make it look like you know what you are talking about? Simply click on the button below this paragraph and a random piece of business jargon will appear in the box. If you need more than one buzzphrase, just click the button again and again.

Courtesy of Plain English Campaign