communication

Plain English? What Are You Talking About?

Plain English? What Are You Talking About?

“Plain English refers to the writing and setting out of essential information in a way that gives a co-operative, motivated person a good chance of understanding it at first reading, and in the same sense that the writer meant it to be understood.” Cutts, M. (2013). Oxford Guide to Plain English. Oxford, England: Oxford University(…)

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Redundant Words

Redundant Words

You can tighten up your writing by getting rid of unneeded words. Here are a few examples: Advance planning. Just say planning. Isn’t all planning done in advance? Past experience. Past adds nothing to your sentence. Absolutely essential. It’s either essential or it isn’t. What’s the difference between essential and absolutely essential? Predict in advance.(…)

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Annoying Cell Phones

Annoying Cell Phones

There are so many places and occasions where it is either unsafe, rude, or otherwise inappropriate to use a cell phone. Surely, you’d think it would be relatively simple to block cell phone signals in places where people shouldn’t be using them. I would certainly like a restaurant where they guaranteed that I wouldn’t hear the irritating(…)

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Design — Less Is Better

Design — Less Is Better

Dieter Rams is a German industrial engineer who is famous for his ten principles of good design. The tenth principle is “Good design is as little design as possible. Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.” I have recently(…)

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Plain Language for Medical Professionals

Plain Language for Medical Professionals

In a previous article, I described the work of Sir Ernest Gowers, an advocate of plain language. His message is “be short, be simple, be human.” Medical professionals need to master the art of communicating simply and clearly almost more than anyone else. Why, for example, would anyone believe that it’s better to say, “Do not exceed(…)

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