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Friday, July 27, 2012

Keep calm, and say it plainly | Malie Lalor, OxfordWords blog

Citing Sir Ernest Gowers in The Complete Plain Words, Martin Cutts in the excellent Oxford Guide to Plain English and George Orwell in “Politics and the English Language,” Lalor asks these questions and explains these rules:
  • What is plain English, and why should you use it?
  • When should you use plain English?
  • Some rules for writing plain English.
Answering her first question, Lalor writes:
Simply put, plain language is language that’s easy for the reader to understand.
She quotes, summarizes and comments on writing rules in Orwell's lengthy but fine essay. And she concludes with this good advice:
For me, the golden rule is: think about your readers, and don’t make them work too hard. When you follow that rule, you will find yourself striving to get your meaning across effectively, and doing the hard work of writing plainly yourself, rather than risk confusing your readers.
I recommend Lalor's references, especially the Cutts book on plain language. For more related information, check out the free Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide.

This article and others are featured at today's (July 27) Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs -- available at the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription.

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