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Thursday, October 25, 2012

5 Ways Plain Writing Helps You, Your Book and Your Business » Sherry Roberts Notebook

Roberts begins her blog by mentioning the U.S. law requiring use of plain language ion government documents.

But the need for using plain language--aka clear, concise writing--is much more far-reaching than that. And her blog describes good reasons for using it. She writes:
Training people to write clearly ... impacts us all, every day and in many ways. It is not dumbing down our language. It is illuminating, instead of obfuscating. ...
Here's a summary of the reasons:
  1. Maybe you won’t sign away the farm—accidentally. The plain language movement will help simplify all the documents you routinely sign ...
  2. Maybe plain language will keep you out of jail. ... Plain language helps us know what is expected of us and keeps us on the right side of the law.  ...
  3. You’ll be able to find the information you need faster. ... If all the instructions in your life were written more clearly, you might have time to buy more stuff and do more things. ...
  4. If you’re a writer, learning to write simply and with clarity will enhance all areas of your writing. ... I’m not trying to stifle creativity here, but be aware that the more flowery the prose, the less understandable it can be and the harder the reader has to work. ...
  5. Plain language will improve your business. ... If you want to be persuasive, write clearly and succinctly; use plain, jargon-free language and influence customers, co-workers, even your boss. ...
For more advice on using plain language, visit Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide. It describes seven steps for producing clear, concise and readable documents:
  • Focusing on your reader and purpose
  • Organizing your ideas
  • Writing clear, effective paragraphs
  • Writing clear, simple sentences
  • Using suitable words
  • Creating an enticing design
  • Testing for clarity.
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This article is featured today (Oct. 25) in my daily newspaper, Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs--available tat the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription.

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