The Campaign for Plain English

Have you heard about Plain English Campaign or the Plain Language Network? The idea is to make communication simple and easy to understand. Going back to basics essentially. It has been used mainly as a guide for legal and government communications but should be a guide to everyone. What is the point of writing if you are not communicating? (Unless you plan to keep it all to yourself in which case you could come up with your own personal, weird form of shorthand and save a lot of paper).

Wikipedia has the following description: Plain English (sometimes referred to more broadly as plain language) is a generic term for communication styles that emphasize clarity, brevity and the avoidance of technical language.

Plain English is English written to be understood. It is written in a manner appropriate to the range of reading skill and knowledge of its audience. It is writing where there is no confusion about meaning, is free of cliché and unnecessary jargon and is presented in a way that builds understanding. Good Plain English writing has the characteristic that it communicates to an audience that is unfamiliar with the in-house language and knowledge of the writer.

Plain English Foundation


Proper words in proper places make the true definition of style. – Swift.

What appears to be a sloppy or meaningless use of words may well be a completely correct use of words to express sloppy or meaningless ideas. – Anonymous Diplomat. Quoted in “The Complete Plain Words”  by Sir Ernest Gowers.

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