Updated: May 10
Enough with delightful Dickensian words like ‘ardent’, ‘jog trotty’ or ‘marplot’, and into the millennial age where speed, clarity and succinctness are key to general expression. So, rather than using long words and business jargon as a way to impress employers, plain English, with a little judicious and unpretentious wit has become the way forward.
Interestingly, the concept of ‘Plain English’ started in the 1940’s in the civil service as a way of making documents more user-friendly. The plain language campaign took up the idea in the 1970’s after campaigning about official documents that couldn’t be understood by normal people. Since then, the idea has got into all areas of writing.
Bill Wheeler says: 'Good writing is clear thinking made visible.'
Many people outside the public sector wouldn’t actually use the phrase ‘Plain English’ but the best writers in all fields use it, knowingly or not. Plain language isn’t about banning long words or phrases or throwing out your grammar book. It’s the right balance of formal, yet judiciously tactful selection of word choices. Someone who has this kind of control over their speaking and writing has a competitive edge for any potential employer if we want to speak purely professional, but also inspiring any individual you cross paths way. Clear communication is punchy, methodological and articulates with the rhythm of your listener's heartbeat. The key is: don't lose your voice. This is your individual flair which no one is permitted to alter, under whatever circumstance.
For an array of word choices which are commonly expressed convolutedly, albeit with good intent, and for simpler, more genuine replacements, do check out: http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/the-a-z-of-alternative-words.html