Friday, 10 June 2016

What is plain language? And why should you use it too?

Sometimes it is easier to define something by what it’s not. It’s not what pilots speak. And it’s definitely NOT legalese or finance speak!

Plain language is a way of writing both clearly and effectively. It’s about everyday language instead of complex grammar or outdated words.

Law and finance have a bad reputation for complex language. You might find it wordy or unclear.

But somehow, this “sophisticated legalese” went viral. It spread faster than its less glamorous cousin, plain language.

I believe that legalese and finance speak are heading for the exit door.

Just look at how :

- GOV.UK is making public information such as tax more accessible to citizens. 
- travel insurance companies explain their policies in a more visual format. 
- online bank statements are becoming easier to read.

But we still have a long way to go. 

For example, you might see this :-

Finance speak:

The current financial climate is conducive to optimal capital investment returns.

I'd like to see more of this :-

Plain language:

Invest now! It’s the best time!
Now there's only one way you can understand that!

So let’s make way for the new kid in town - plain language. It does what it says on the tin. It’s clear, efficient and transparent.   You read it and you understand it.

And on that note, I’d like to end with a delightful quote from the great man, 

Leonardo da Vinci:

La semplicità è la massima raffinatezza

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

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