Muddy language is not confined to policies alone. Each of you has seen replies to simple questions in which the meaning was lost through hopelessly obscure wording. When a person writes to the Veterans Administration, he is entitled to an easily understood, frank, and courteous reply. If our replies cannot be understood, they are not only not worth writing, but they simply create additional work.
General Omar Bradley, the second administrator of VA, 1947
The only answer we’ve come up with for making this move more quickly is that the public has to demand it. When people get something that’s not written clearly, they should call the agency and remind them of their right to plain language.
Annetta Cheek, Plain Language Coordinator for the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, 1999
Clear writing from your government is a civil right.
Former Vice President Al Gore, 1998
The information we at the Department of Health and Human Services provide can literally make the difference between life and death for our fellow Americans.
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, endorsing plain language, 2002
What we write and how well we write it will be a major factor in sustaining public interest and involving parents, educators, and local officials in our efforts. In short, we want to put a new face on the Department’s regulatory documents.
Gene Hickok, Under Secretary of Education, 2002