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Plain English (=plain language)

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  • Introduction
  • Resources (books, websites etc)
    • eg Wikipedia article, IDeA, LLRX, "Eats, shoots and leaves"
  • Dedicated organisations and websites
    • eg the Plain English Campaign (PEC), Plain Language Commission, PLAIN
  • Related pages:
    • Style
    • Statistics

Introduction

This topic is only on the fringe of the issues we deal with on the website.  However, it's a subject which we feel passionately about.  It affects all aspects of communication - printed material, websites and broadcast information.  OK, so it's not specifically about clothing collections.  But if all the people involved with stopping misleading and bogus collections tried their very best to communicate effectively - with Plain English and systematic, well laid-out information - it would go some way towards solving the problems.

We try hard on the website (and in our emails) to practise what we preach - but no doubt at times we fail abysmally.   If do you spot any failings in our English - contact us and tell us how we could improve things.  We'll give you our thanks (and a cringing apology).

Plain Language Commission logo

 
Plain English [definition] :

"The writing and setting out of essential information in a way that gives a co-operative, motivated person a good chance of understanding it at first reading, and in the same sense that the writer meant it to be understood."

Source:  Martin Cutts, "Oxford Guide to Plain English", second edition, 2004
 

Resources (books, websites etc)

Wikipedia: page on Plain English  

Local Government Improvement and Development (formerly IDeA): Knowledge article on Plain English  

www.llrx.com/features/plainlanguage.htm   - 'Plain language in law' - with lots of references
'LLRX' stands for 'Law Library Resource Xchange'

"The complete plain words" - groundbreaking book by Sir Ernest Gowers
"The Complete plain words": full text of the 1954 edition  

"Sir Ernest (Arthur) Gowers (1880-1966)
British civil servant, and author of an influential work on English usage.  He studied at Cambridge, and was called to the bar in 1906.  After a distinguished career in the civil service, he wrote Plain Words (1948), ABC of Plain Words (1951) and The Complete Plain Words (1954) in an attempt to maintain standards of clear English, especially in official prose."

"The plain English guide"
- book by Martin Cutts: Oxford University Press

"Eats, shoots and leaves: the zero tolerance approach to punctuation"   - humorous top-selling book by Lynne Truss (2003)

Dedicated organisations and websites

Plain English Campaign (PEC)  
- founded in 1979 by Chrissie Maher OBE

Wikipedia: page on Plain English Campaign (PEC)  

Plain Language Commission   - Director: Martin Cutts

Plain Language Association International (PLAIN) - logo

Plain Language Association International (PLAIN)  
"At the heart of clear writing across disciplines and around the world"
Membership association.  The secretariat is in Canada

www.plainlanguage.gov   - a US government site
'Improving communication from the Federal government to the public'

www.plainlanguage.gov logo
Logo of US government website

Related pages on our site