Plain English


In a previous post (Rationalisation Measures), I mentioned the Plain English Campaign. They advocate Plain English by, for example, awarding “Crystal Clear” certificates to businesses which regularly use plain English and by exposing nonsense English with their version of the Oscar — the Golden Bull Award.

They do not stand for Saxon English, only plain English. But as you know, plain English is the best, and the best is Saxon… usually.

Their website is great and has many resources on it. One is a little tool which allows you to choose a buzz phrase and replace it with plain English. Some personal highlights (I’ll probably add more):

accelerate speed up
accommodation where you live, home
accompanying with
afford an opportunity let, allow
possessions belongings
reimburse pay back
subsequently later
supplementary extra, more
the question as to whether whether
to the extent that if, when
unavailability lack of
utilisation use
we have pleasure in we are glad to

I call on all people who read my blog (that’s you, Mum) to encourage organisations that they are involved in to get hooked up with the Plain English Campaign. At the very least, get people to make use of the tool I just talked about.

Here’s an idea. Of course, I wouldn’t encourage anyone to jeopardise their livelihood, but if you were to print out your boss’ emails and replace all the jargon, perhaps grade your boss’ English, anonymously, you might be doing a serious public service… P.S. the dole ain’t so bad.

© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry

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