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Category Archives: Plain Language
There are good ways and bad ways to address a customer service fiasco. Courtesy of Southwest Airlines, here’s one of the bad ways: “We are working directly with the family after sincerely apologizing and issuing a full refund for their … Continue reading
Are you still fearful of using contractions? Don’t be. They have a long and storied history. For more, see my article “Contractions and how not to abuse ‘em.” (Hat tip to Ray Ward.)
I’m betting that much of what you write ends up in email messages, or on the web. If that’s the case, Jakob Nielsen has some advice for you, based on his studies of how people read email and web pages.
Hey, coffee lovers! What size is that latte? Short, tall, grande, or venti? Premi, media, or massimo? (Does anyone know what those mean, anyway? Who, other than Italians, knows that venti means “twenty,” as in twenty fluid ounces of caffeinated … Continue reading
Louis L’Amour is one of America’s most popular authors, with more than 100 books to his credit, all of which are still in print, and almost all of which have sold more than a million copies. For my last birthday, … Continue reading
Joanna Young poses the ever-fresh question: Why do people use long words? All of the writing mavens tell us to use short words, and research backs it up. What was it about complex, hard to read words that people were … Continue reading
Here’s a warning sign that gets its message across with some vivid language: The text says: DANGERDO NOT TOUCHNot only will this kill you, it will hurt the whole time you’re dying. On one hand, I think this sort of … Continue reading
Want to impress an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court? Here’s Antonin Scalia, in the September 14, 2008 Parade: What are the most common mistakes lawyers make? In written arguments, it’s verbosity. Brevity is crucial. Words piled upon words … Continue reading
If the members of the U.S. Senate join their colleagues in the House of Representatives, plain language may soon become the law of the land. The House recently passed H.R. 3548, the Plain Language in Government Communications Act, which would … Continue reading
Editor’s Note – I’m trying something different with this article: It’s a downloadable Adobe Acrobat file. It’s licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License, which means you are free to distribute copies of the work. … Continue reading