We’re afraid to give instructions. Despite imperatives being the fastest and most direct way of giving someone instructions, they remain unpopular. Can you imagine writing “dogs are advised that they should sit down”? Of course not. “Sit” suffices. So, rather than saying “I should be grateful if you would please send it to me” just … Continue reading Please listen to these instructions!
Why is it that people persevere with out-of-date language that they’d never utter in a face-to-face conversation? Would you say: “My family consists of five persons, currently domiciled in a brick residence” or “There are five people in my family, and we live in a brick house”? Many people think that elaborate sentences and multi-syllabic … Continue reading Language on the nose
Ironically, as the world increasingly relies on computers and new technologies, good writing skills have become more important, not less. Running your documents through the computerised spell-checker is not enough to guarantee that your company can transfer its professionalism, knowledge and expertise to the printed page. Whether you are pitching a business idea, submitting a … Continue reading Why is good communication important?
Researchers at the University of Michigan have found, unsurprisingly perhaps, that the more difficult instructions are to read, the more challenging the task seems Researchers worked with 20 students who were each given the same instructions for an exercise routine printed in two different fonts. One was in Arial, an easy to read sans-serif font, … Continue reading Plain fonts easier to read
Declaring war on "elitist" and "discriminatory" bureaucratic language, the councillors in Bournemouth, England, has ordered borough workers to replace Latin phrases in official documents and correspondence with plain, everyday phrases. The British press is outraged that the Bournemouth Borough Council (Latin motto: Pulchritudo et Salubritas — beauty and health) singles out 19 Latin words or … Continue reading Bona fide Plain English the status quo
For everyone who's tired of management jargon, the Australian Institute of Management has developed this fantastic little program (free) called Bullfighter that appears as an icon in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint and works much like a spell check feature. When it detects jargon and complicated language it dispenses a tongue in cheek reprimand to the … Continue reading Busting the jargon