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Plain Language: A Service For Ourselves

Stack of books that say "Plain Language Book Club"

“Critics may say you’ll lose accuracy. At times, this is true. … In many cases, however, you’ll improve accuracy. Writing [to include more readers] forces you to be utterly lucid. Abstraction and euphemism are out.”

— Martin Cutts
Oxford Guide to Plain English, page 274

Do you use writing as part of your thinking process? I do, and I think lots of people do. Editing is an opportunity to think more clearly, not just communicate more clearly.

We look at our drafts and try to make them better:

  • Visually organized
  • Shorter
  • Made from simple words

In that process, we are also asking ourselves what is important, to us and to our readers.

This is good practice for everything to do with words.

Working toward plain language — at the writing or editing stage — isn’t just an extra process that we go through to meet the needs of a specific type of reader. It can be a process to clarify our own thinking, and that benefits us as well.

Thanks to Martin Cutts for inspiring this line of thought in our October read for Plain Language Book Club!

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