RESOURCES: Plain language

RESOURCES: Plain language

Using plain language means writing in a way that your intended audiences can immediately find, understand, and use your messages and information. It’s not about “dumbing down” your message but making sure that you are communicating effectively with your target readers.

Plain language is relevant, even (especially?) for academic and professional writing. There are great resources out there to help you write in plain language. Here are some to get you started—and the rest is practice 🙂

(If you’re not fully convinced that plain language principles can also improve academic writing, take a look at these articles.)

☘ Guidelines

☘ Books

  • Cutts, Martin. Oxford Guide to Plain English. Oxford University Press, 2020. If you want one book on plain English, this is the one. Clearly organized and fun to read, it’s one I keep at hand. Highly recommended!
  • Gowers, Ernest A., and Rebecca Gowers. Plain Words. Penguin Books, 2014. Updated by Rebecca Gowers, the original book was written by Sir Ernest over 60 years ago but is (sadly?) still relevant as ever. The examples will keep you chuckling. (The 1954 version is in the public domain in some countries.)

☘ Other useful sites

☘ Training

I haven’t found any inexpensive and easily accessible online training on plain language writing (yet), but here are a few resources to get you started.

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Plus: Explore my free downloads and connect with me on LinkedIn.

Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay

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