Please listen to these instructions!

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!

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Language on the nose

Why is it that people persevere with out-of-date language that they’d never utter in a face-to-face conversation?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

Why is good communication important?

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?

Bona fide Plain English the status quo

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