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Friday, October 19, 2012

Why plain language is important for business | Sharon Davis, First Line

I like word play. I like coming up with (funny) puns during conversations with friends and colleagues. I'm actually quite good at it and have a reputation .... 

But I also like what Davis writes here:
Writing for business is not about being entertaining, nor about writing a literary masterpiece. There's little point in adding a clever play on words if a portion of your audience is not going to understand it, or in the worst case, become confused by it.
She begins her column noting that some people "brush off" use of plain language because it over-simplifies things, dumbs them down--and because it removes the humor and entertainment value of writing and reading.

And she responds:
What is the purpose of business writing?
In most cases your main goal is to communicate clearly and effectively--and generally you'd like to get your message across to a wide audience, with varying levels of education and language proficiency, as painlessly as possible. This is where plain language wins hands down.
For more advice on writing clearly and concisely by using plan language, visit Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide. It describes these seven steps:
  • 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
Davis's article is featured today (Oct. 19) in Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs--available at the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription.

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