Writing in Plain English.

Recently, I discovered an intriguing guide called “How to Write Reports in Plain English” by the Plain English Campaign. It was published in 2001.

I conducted research on Winston Churchill’s brevity memo. Taking my own notes in plain language was a task that I found particularly interesting.

So what is Plain English? It is a clear and concise message written with a specific audience in mind.

Let’s clarify some misunderstandings and myths about Plain English. It is not what some people think it is.

Firstly, Plain English works for any writing. From leaflets and letters to social media posts, legal documents, business reports, and instruction guides. We can write these in heyP no how are you oh wow you have a hi you want me to call you later we have him how are youlain English without worrying about sounding overly simple or patronizing.

Secondly, you do not need change the meaning of your message. Instead, focus on taking complex topics and making them simple and easy to understand. It doesn’t require perfect grammar or specific words. Jargon is acceptable depending on the audience. If your readers are familiar with certain terms, use them. If your audience is more general, use non-industry specific language and explain the jargon before using it.

Thirdly, writing in Plain English is not a sign of amateurishness. In fact, it takes sophistication to communicate effectively without using complex language.

Finally, writing in simple and clear language is not easy. Complexity can come about by default, but simplicity requires conscious effort. In other words, complexity can be accidental, but simplicity is intentional.

For the past decade, I have read thousands of documents from clients in various industries. Sadly, I find that concise writing is a rarity, not the norm.

This is a shame because the advantages of Plain English are clear.

Writing in Plain English saves time and helps your message reach your audience quickly. This is essential in today’s world where people have less time and patience for lengthy documents.

We need to ask ourselves: who is a professional writer? Is it someone who writes books for a living? Or someone who gets paid to write articles, websites, or brochures?

Or, is it anyone who works in a knowledge-based job? People who work with abstract ideas, data, or manage people. All these people are professional writers, because writing is a crucial skill for modern workers. Plain English is necessary for these professionals.

So let’s begin with an analysis of the anatomy of p yeah I’m feeling good get a little sunlain English.

My first piece of advice regards the length of you tell me the work here now get some sun I leave any become a bad girl so I hate when are you coming to Bali how long is made it until you come yeah yeah I miss you I can’t hear you very well hello I need it oh OK yeah I’ll be here you can buy can you come by helicopter ride no no no I was writing yeah I got some yeah I’ll let you have your party OK so I can’t hear very well OK but you look hey you look hot like hot chocolate you look hot as chocolate send me a photo of you ciao callr sentences.

A sentence is a complete statement that can stand by itself.If you want to write clearly, keep your sentences short. This acts as a forcing function for simplicity. It makes your ideas clear to the reader.

However, this does not mean that all your sentences must be the same length. Vary your writing. Be concise. Don’t be afraid to be concise.

My second piece of advice is to use active verbs instead of passive verbs. Distance shows that your writing is crisp and professional instead of stuffy and bureaucratic.

But what is the difference between active and passive verb? I will quote directly from the guide here as they enter the great job of explaining this.

Let’s take a simple sentence: ‘The boss slammed the door.’

Here, we can call the boss ‘the doer’. The verb is ‘slammed’. And the door is what we can call ‘the thing’.

In almost all sentences that contain active verbs, the doer comes first, then the verb and then the thing. There will probably be lots of other words as well. For example: ‘The boss, in a fit of temper, slammed the door to the outer office.’ But the order of doer, verb, thing stays the same.

With passive verbs, the thing comes first: ‘The door was slammed by the boss.’ You can see that by making the sentence passive, we have had to introduce the words ‘was’ and ‘by’, which means the sentence is now much clumsier.

Remember that the doer is not always a person and the thing is not always a thing! ‘The tree crushed Peter’ is active but ‘Peter was crushed by the tree’ is passive. And remember ‘passive’ has nothing to do with the past tense.

Often sentences with passive verbs can makes sense without having a specific doer. For instance, “the problem is being investigated.”.

If you look at many official reports, you will find this type of language everywhere. The problem here is that the reader left asking, “so who is investigating the problem?”. And this is often precisely the point of official documents. It is not to provide clarity but to disperse responsibility to the system instead of a specific individual or department.

It doesn’t mean you should never use passive verbs. Passive verbs can be helpful in certain situations. For example, when you want to be less hostile, avoid taking the blame, or don’t know who the doer is.

Always consider your reader when writing. For example, when writing a report, think about the person who will read it. What do they already know? What do you need to explain? What will they find interesting? Write in a way that ensures they will understand your point.

My fourth piece of advice is to say exactly what you mean using the simplest possible words. Note that I did not say using simple words, but the simplest words. For some audiences, complex terminology it’s OK to use. You have to decide this based on your analysis of who the readers will be.

Think of it this way: if you wouldn’t say it, don’t write it.

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