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Plain Language in Business

The National Writing Project, dedicated to improving writing and learning in the nation’s schools, issued a report on the need for a writing revolution.

Pretentious Language Wastes Time. A management communication specialist in France illustrates how unclear and pretentious language wastes management’s time, even in minor ways.

The Hidden Costs of Complex Language. A workers’ compensation claims-administration firm recently required all its claims administrators to attend seminars to help them write clearly. “People don’t understand what we’re trying to say.”

Resources for Writing Plain Language Documents

Members of The Association of Professional Communication Consultants recommend these guides to writing plain language documents.

Bailey, Jr., Edward P. The Plain English Approach to Business Writing. Rev. ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

Bailey, Jr., Edward P. & Larry Bailey. Plain English at Work: A Guide to Writing and Speaking. (1996).

Cutts, Martin. Oxford Guide to Plain English. 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). A short, to-the-point guide to writing plain British English.

Johns, Lee Clark. The Writing Coach. (Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Learning, 2004). A comprehensive guide to clear workplace writing.

Lauchman, Richard. Plain Style: Techniques for Simple, Concise, Emphatic Business Writing. (AMACOM, a Division of American Management Association, 1993).

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A Plain English Handbook: How to Create Clear SEC Disclosure Documents. Washington D.C.,1998.